Birthday Dinner at Kafe Sobaka Restoran Pomegranate
For my birthday this year I wanted to try something new. That “something new” ended up being Russian food from a local restaurant called Kafe Sobaka Restoran Pomegranate! I made sure to let everyone know we were going to the restaurant in Golden Hills. There’s a very similarly named restaurant over in North Park (on my to-do list) so I wanted to make sure no one was confused! Luckily no one was and everyone found the restaurant just fine.
I didn’t get a photo of the entire outside, but I did snap a photo of this sign that’s out front talking about all of their savory pies. All of them sound delicious!
This is the entryway into Kafe Sobaka Restoran Pomegranate.
And this is the main dining room at Kafe Sobaka Restoran Pomegranate. Our long table would be full later!
Some decor on the wall. Notice in the middle where the bench seats are? Just beyond that is a private room for dining. I’ve read that if you get that room, then you can watch Russian movies back there. There was already a party back there though, so we were not able to get the private room. Too bad!
I set our dinner to start at 5PM so we were able to partake in some happy hour foods.
Appetizers, Soups, and Savory Pies
Desserts and More
Cocktails, Vodkas, and Beer
We were given some bread to snack on. On the left is yucky rye bread and on the right is a much tastier white bread. The butter was infused with different herbs and tasted AMAZING.
David, Allison, and I got shots of infused vodka. If you buy two shots, you get one free. The one in the front is mine, infused Apple Vodka. Back left is David’s Sour Cherry and then Allison’s Mint Vodka. We teased on the mint one, saying it smelled like mouthwash. I had a sip, it was super duper uber minty. I liked my apple vodka, though the apple flavor was very light. The vodka itself was very smooth and went down easily.
I got buzzed after 3 sips because I hadn’t eaten in awhile.
I blame the vodka for my “meh” photos. Sorry.
They had ice cream on the happy hour menu and Jake decided he wanted to try the Honey Vanilla ice cream [$4.50 for happy hour] and this was like, one of the first things to come out. Eat your dessert first! This ice cream is made in house. It had an interesting texture – it tasted almost like a whipped cream or something. The honey was a nice touch. This was passed around for everyone to try, much like some of the other dishes to come!
We wanted to try the Pelmeni Siberian Meat Dumplings! The top is the small sized portion [$8] and the bottom is the happy hour portion [$4.50]. These came topped with a little bit of dill, some caramelized onions, and a dollop of sour cream. The wrapper was quite tender and the meat mixture inside was quite flavorful and juicy. I liked these!
Not 100% sure who ordered this Fried Cheese dish called Zharennyi Syir [$11] (maybe Alyssa? I think she’s the one that offered it to me to try) but I’m glad someone did because it was a damn fine choice. The cheese had some nice crunchy bits to it and was super flavorful. I’d order this again to share with some bread!
I had my heart set on ordering the Khachapuri [$11.50]. It is a savory cheese pie with a mixture of cheeses inside!
I liked the herbs sprinkled all over the top and inside of the warm cheese pie. I have no idea what kind of cheeses are in this sucker, either, but they all tasted wonderful to me. I quite enjoyed the dough crust that surrounded the cheese. It was thin, light, and flaky with a bit of a crunchy texture on the top/bottom of the pie. This was a great dish to share since it’s quite large!
Lynn let me try a bit of her Golubsti [$12] which was a cabbage stuffed with herbs, spices, ground beef, and grains. I don’t usually go for cabbage rolls but I was surprised that I liked the bite I had. The ground meat was full of flavor and the cabbage was tender. I think what pulled it off for me is that tomato-y sauce on top of the cabbage. Yum yum!
I’m pretty sure I had drank a bit more of my vodka when I took this photo, ugh. This is the dish I ordered called Chakhokhbili [$16]. This is a chicken dish with lemon, tomato, garlic, and fresh herbs. It was kind of like a chicken stew – there was a ton of bright, refreshing flavors going on in this dish and the chicken was quite tender. It has a side of rice with it. I actually didn’t eat much of my own dish because everyone gave me some of their food to try and I got full trying everyone else’s food! It was pretty awesome!
Jake ordered the dish I originally wanted to try called the Shashlik.
From their website:
“Shashlik:(Thursday through Sunday only) Is tantalizing meat fire roasted on long evil-looking daggers until it is as tender and juicy as the lips of your lover. Just be patient it could take 20 minutes until the flesh is just right. Chicken $17, Pork $18″
The menu description of this is what made me giggle and want to order it. Sadly it is NOT SERVED WITH DAGGERS which was very disappointing to all of us. I asked Jake to get the pork but after a few bites, Jake told the waitress he thought he received the wrong dish since it tasted like dried out chicken breast. But he was assured it was pork and he asked to change to the chicken since this was uber duber dry. I didn’t try the pork. Jake didn’t want me to.
The chicken though was much better (according to Jake) and I did have a piece of this. It was incredibly tender and had a nice flame-charcoal-roasted flavor to it. There was some kind of sauce on the chicken that tasted delicious as well. I was a little surprised this didn’t have any other sides besides tomatoes and pickles.
I think…. this was….. a savory pumpkin pie? I thought the dough was a bit too thick and took away from the filling.
This is Matt’s dish and he just told it was meatballs. Hunting around on their menu, I think this is it:
Kotlet: Now imagine three ground meats – beef, chicken, and turkey with marinated Russian vegetables pan-fried enter the opening under your nose. Ooooh baby, where is my beer! (S)$11 (L) $15
I had a little bite and it tasted good to buzzed me.
Laura got a bowl of Borscht. I didn’t try it. Don’t like beets. Keep yo beets to yoself.
Laura also ordered the Kharcho soup from the happy hour menu.
Kharcho: We prepare our kharcho like the last will! Georgia’s most popular beef soup with rice, tomato, lemon, onion, garlic and cilantro. After this dish with a glass of wine you will sing like a starling. (S)$7 (L)$10
David ordered this:
Tabaka (Loresha’s special aka Yellow Blue Bus): Is not your fried yard bird. A plump and juicy fried Cornish hen is split down the middle with crisp skin is a poem of a meal on its own. Please allow 25 minutes to catch the bird, stick it under a rock, and to fry it. Like Loresha purrs, “Your mouth will be delighted like never before, with this tasty, fiery marvel from the Caucasus.”$19
I love these menu descriptions. This was one of my favorite bites of the night. The cornish hen was plump and moist and the skin tasted delicious! It has a really bright, herby flavor to it and I liked how juicy the hen was. Yum!
Allison let me try some of her Manty (pumpkin dumplings). These are savory dumplings and the inside tastes a bit like butternut squash. They are truly savory though and even though I read that on the menu, I was still expecting something sweet! Pumpkin spice flavored everything has ruined me.
At the end of the menu, our nice waitress came out with this giant Napoleon with a candle on it. This was surprising since I made the reservation and I did not bother to tell our waitress it was my birthday. Someone ratted me out!
I insisted that no one had to sing.
Everyone ignored me.
I told them all they were lucky I loved them since I did not want singing.
The Napoleon was gigantic and difficult to eat. Every time I’d slice a piece off, it would crumble all over the place. I ate a little and then passed it around. It was super flaky! It tasted kind of “day old” to me but I ate it anyway.
There were two cakes passed around – a Chocolate cake (this one) and a Molasses cake. I think I liked this? But honestly I can’t remember anymore (vodka).
Honey cake! It looked pretty but the flavor was just okay.
I don’t know what kind of face I’m making here. Jake took like 4 photos before we got this one and maybe I was thinking “are you done yet? I’m tired of smiling.”
I didn’t think to get a whole group photo. I fail.
But all in all it was GOOD TIMES here and it was fun to try new things! I’d love to come back and try like…. everything on the happy hour menu (except things involving beets). They have a hilarious menu and everything that had cheese in it was delicious. Will definitely be back again to try more Russian things!
Kafe Sobaka Restoran Pomegranate
San Diego, CA 92102