What can I say about Russian's and eating? "Vodka and lots of, lots of food great food". From what I've gathered so far from having dinners with Mr. Borscht's family every now and then is that drinking wine and/or vodka with dinner which usually consists of many salad dishes followed by a main meat entree then followed by sweet (aka dessert in the states) is the way it is done. A meal seems to not only be about eating good food and enjoying it but also about being with family and/or friends and enjoying their company. And boy do they know how to have a good time. They can sit and eat for hours, slowly eating, tasting a little bit here and a little bit there, cheering to acknowledge the good happens between every few bites, everyone is cheerful and in a good mood, exchanging stories that are interesting if not funny. Through sitting and eating dinners with them I've learned that the Russian people know how to truly enjoy life and appreciate- and they do this through eating, thus eating a meal is not just eating a meal but something more, this something I find lacking, unfortunately, in other cultures.
A celebration for any occasion whether it's Christmas, New Year's or a birthday is done through having family and friends sit around one table and eating a long meal, there will be not only drinks, food and laughter but also music and maybe a little bit of dancing between dishes. I was fortunate to have been invited to one such celebration recently held at Kashtan, a Russian restaurant in Los Angeles' Little Russia located in West Hollywood on Santa Monica Boulevard. The restaurant was small, there was small dance floor and a deejay, the lights were dim... and there was a table full of delicious Russian food!
|The Mackerel, eat with a squeeze of lemon and some dill pickled onions|
The beginning dishes and salads included a variety of salads such as a tomato salad with cucumbers, red onions and dill; pickled tomatos; and shrimp pineapple salad. Small meat dishes there are also in variety such as Mackerel, there was also a cured meat dish that included prosuitto, pork and ham, and a couple different cured filet fish. Then there were more traditional and odd small Russian dishes such as the Chicken broth gelatin with pieces of chicken floating around in the gelatin.
|Chicken broth gelatin|
The many side dishes that takes up 2/3 of the time of dinner is followed by a meat entree, at Kashtan it was a few different meats: chicken kabob, ribs and lamb over roasted potatoes. Needless to say, this too was absolutely fabulous.
My personal preference is to have a home-cooked Russian dinner, nothing seems to beat home-cooked food. While their home-cooked dinners are less extravagant meaning more salads and less meats it is still infinitely more delicious. And while a home-cooked Russian dinner is my preference I would still suggest trying a dinner at Kashtan, at least to get to know Russian cuisine, and if you have Russian friends or family to go with- all the more better! Because as you may have picked up on this post, it's not only about eating in Russia.
7707 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood CA 90046