A Russian restaurant that doesn't specialize in banquets or large parties but suitable for a two person dinner was the constant dilemma Mr. Borscht and I was running into when trying to find a Russian restaurant to dine at. Then one night when we least expected it, we came across a little Russian restaurant called Traktir located on Santa Monica Blvd in LA's West Hollywood.
The smallish restaurant that offered indoor and outdoor seating was moderately filled with glossy wooden tables that reminded me of Danish culture. The restaurant is more casual than fancy and gives an air of simplicity, a place where good friends can gather to eat in leisure- in this way Traktir seems to be very Russian.
|Complimentary bread basket|
A basket of complimentary bread and butter to start. I'm almost positive the bread was "home-made" but the lack of moisture in each bite whispered "day old", or perhaps Russian bread is made and eaten dry?
Home-made Compote is a fruit juice made from the flavors extracted from dried fruits, the drink was refreshing, sweet and delicious and tasted more like flavored iced tea than a juice to my palate.
|Vinegret Salad (Russian vegetarian salad) contains beet, carrot, potatoes, pickles and onion|
For our cold appetizer we opted for something we were familiar with, beet salad (pictured above), this beet salad (called Vinegret Salad) was a small dish with a mound of small diced beets, potatoes, carrots , pickles and onion. I found the Vinegret Salad to be rather plain and less flavorful than the Russian beet salads I've tried making at home. On another downside the beet salad dish was rather small and was likely made for one person not two.
|Combination of different kinds of dumplings: potato dumplings, ground meat dumplings and mushroom dumplings served with porcini mushroom sauce and friend onion|
For a hot appetizer choice we again decide to order something we are familiar with, dumplings. We go for a kind of dumpling sampler dish. The small Russian trio of dumplings comes with 10 pieces of of dumplings, all once again fairly small. The three types of dumplings include dumplings filled with 1. Ground meat, 2. Potatoes and 3. Mushrooms. We order the Russian trio with the porcini mushroom sauce and a side of fried onions. A dumpling with a little bit of porcini sauce topped with fried onions was scrumptuous. The downside? There were barely any fillings in the dumplings :(
|Chicken Shaslik, marinated chicken in lemon and spices served with a side of roasted potatoes and pickled cabbage|
As our main entree we order the Chicken Shashlik which is Chicken kebabs, the chicken kebabs are served with a side of roasted potatoes and pickled cabbage. The chicken is moist, flavorful with spices- absolutely delicious! I may have been setback and gloomy from the under-stuffed dumplings, dry bread and plain beet salad but the Chicken Shaslik definitely made up for it. The chicken Shaslik flame-grilled entree is perfect for one person if this is all you are having, but is also good enough to share if you are having appetizers before.
While I suggest foregoing the dumplings and the beet salad for other appetizer options, the Chicken Shaslik is a must try.
Total Damage: $38.00 +/-
1 small Russian Trio
1 Vinegret Salad
1 Home made compote
1 Chicken Shashlik
8151 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046