Student Eats: Russian food after rushing to class


Kafe Sobaka/Restoran Pomegranate offers a variety of sweet, savory, hot and cold goodies that are sure to please any craving. Photo credit: Lydia Grijalva

Lydia Grijalva

Kafe Sobaka/Restoran Pomegranate is a quirky restaurant that offers a to-die-for fusion of Georgian, Californian and Russian cuisine. This enchanting breakaway from every day campus grub is located in Golden Hill at 24th and Broadway, less than 10 blocks from City.

The menu includes four sizes from Communist size -a hyperbolically small dish which the menu explains is “priced for the people at $2.87” — to Anarchist size — a large serving intended for parties to share. The unique size names and the sign above the entrance that reads “tasty peasant food cooked slowly and devoured greedily” draws people in from the sidewalk. The outdoor seating is dog friendly, though tight. The bright Russian matryoshka style dolls painted on the table, the planted fresh herbs and the potato sack seat cushions add to the rustic feel.

To start, they offer two types of bread, and homemade herb butter. The white bread was fluffy and warm and the traditional rye paired well with both of the soups. Okroshka is a great soup to start with. This refreshing, cold soup is bursting with probiotics, which are great for digestion. It is Kefir, or yogurt milk based and is loaded with cucumbers, radishes, baked potato and dill.

Borsch is a popular Russian soup that is traditionally customized by each chef. It can be served hot or cold, vegetarian or meaty, creamy or brothy. Though traditionally beet based, this tomato based, brothy, warm version was the epitome of comfort food.

The Pelmeni Dumplings, a traditional Siberian cuisine, are a definite crowd pleaser. The mushroom onion dumplings are small, flavorful and available in the communist size. They are rich, smooth, savory and won’t disappoint, but the larger and sweeter pumpkin dumplings are certainly worth the splurge.

The restaurant offers a variety of drinks from around they world. As per Russian specialty, they offer infused vodka. The ginger vodka has a subtle spice and is very smooth. The rose vodka contains a sophisticated taste and smell that makes it a drink fit for spunky retired woman who is looking to unwind after an evening with the grandkids.

[slideshow id=14 W=530 H=370]

Plum Vodka is the most popular of these three and one of the most popular infusions on the menu. The fruit compliments the taste of vodka perfectly and it’s no wonder why this is a top seller. All of these are smooth and can be enjoyed by vodka enthusiasts, whiskey sippers and the average Joe or Jane alike.

Upon receiving the check, which is cleverly delivered in an Anton Checkov book, those who pay in cash are offered a free cup of traditional Russian tea, or a dog treat.

Their menu explains that this freebie is to “encourage financial responsibility.” The soft, floral taste of the herbal tea is the perfect way to end a delicious meal. Three “communist” size dishes and the herbal tea are a great way to end a long week of school for under $10, making this delicious food student budget friendly.