West Hollywood: Traktir
I’ve driven by Traktir in West Hollywood for years and have always been curious about this Ukranian-Russian joint. I finally had a chance to go a couple of weeks ago. It is apparent from the moment you walk in that it’s an authentic place. We started off with chilled pepper vodka. And before you even say it– yes, pepper vodka. It’s actually a fairly traditional flavor for vodka and if there’s ever a time to have vodka, it’s with Russian food.
The mains looked like a steakhouse items which I found a bit…not very Russian. We decided to get a few Russian sounding appetizers to share.This way we had a chance to try several items.
The pickles plate also came with a mound of shaved cabbage and tomatoes. The cabbage wasn’t so fermented like sauerkraut and the tomatoes brought a nice acid to the dish. And the pickles had a nice crunch. This was a great snack with the chilled pepper vodka.
Borscht is one of those things that seems to scare people. Perhaps because of its brilliant red color but I find the soup of beets, cabbage, tomatoes and dill delicious. This version also had beef and once topped with a bit of sour cream, the whole dish comes together in a harmony of silky flavor.
Vareniki are dumplings. We got the trio sampler of potato, meat and mushroom and sauerkraut. I was eager to try the meat and sauerkraut one and found it was my favorite. They’re very generous with the portion and we couldn’t eat them fast enough before they got cold.
I loved the soup best and would come back for that alone.
Now about that vodka…bottoms up!