Hours: Daily 4pm-Midnight
A couple weeks ago, fellow bloggers Meredith and Rachel sent out an email to me and some other lovely ladies about the idea of starting a “supper club.” We all have a shared passion for food, so why not get together once a month to try a new restaurant, indulge in delicious food and drinks, and enjoy great company.
“Instead of a book club, let’s have an eating club.” That is a tagline I can get behind (though I am also a member of a fabulous book club).
Our first adventure was to Kachka, a new restaurant in SE Portland with a Russian and Ukrainian influenced menu. As we were eager to broaden our dining horizons, we decided to get the Ruskie Zakuski Experience.
For Russian cuisine novices like we all were, Kachka offered a helpful explanation of the dinner we were about to enjoy:
How to Eat Like a Russian:
step 1: cover every square inch of your table with zakuski
step 2: ll everyone’s glasses with their beverage of choice (like vodka, or maybe vodka)
step 3: search your soviet soul for a spirited toast. when in doubt, a toast to friends, to life, or simply “boo-dyim”!
step 4: clink. drink. eat. repeat.
Basically this meant for only $25, we got course after course of their cold and hot “Zakuski”, which are essentially appetizers or small plates.
The first few courses were fish plates which included a lot of cured fish, and their well-known “Herring Under a Fur Coat” which is a 7-layer-dip Russian style made with herring, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, mayo, and eggs.
Courses 4-6 or so were the meat courses. We were served some interesting (read: not my favorite) dishes like an aspic made with jellied beef shank and veal feet terrine. Yup, you read that right.
Last up, we got the a ridiculous amount of caviar. The beautiful salmon caviar was served with yeasted blini, challah, chive, butter, sieved egg, so you could make delicious little caviar sandwiches.
Between all the food, numerous ladies ordered some vodka flights (I’m a total baby and passed on that). Unsurprisingly, Kachka has a large vodka selection and also a wide variety of house-made infusions like chamomile, lemon, tarragon, beet and the very strong horseradish. The staff gave us a sample of the horseradish which made nearly everyone cringe. But if you love horseradish, this would be your thing, hands down.
Things I really loved about Kachka:
The Decor – it was so sweet in how it was decorated.
The Staff – everyone we encountered was incredible. They were so friendly, super knowledgeable about the restaurant and the cuisine, and so hospitable. Sure, them giving us shots of their house-infused vodka didn’t hurt either!
The Menu – I loved the commentary like the steps on how to eat like a Russian listed above. Or the description of the Sirniki & Kissel dessert: “farmer’s cheese pancakes and lingonberry sauce. will take you right back to your soviet kindergarden days.”
Sour Cherry Vareniki – this Ukrainian dessert was outrageously good. Mini dumplings stuffed with tart Oregon sour cherries then lightly fried and topped with a vanilla sauce and powdered sugar. I could have eaten the entire bowl that we shared between the 10 of us all by myself if someone let me.
Oreshki – little nut-shaped sandwich cookies with a rich hazelnut chocolate spread (think Nutella). Just as the menu said, these could very well change my life. For the better of course.
Eggplant Pkhali Rolls – thinly sliced eggplant stuffed with walnut, garlic and cilantro.
Tvorog Vareniki – We all agreed this was the best thing all night. These fabulous dumplings are filled with farmer’s cheese and scallions and melt in your mouth. We got them “Classic” style so they are boiled to perfection, but you can also order them fried. Plus you can get them on the Happy Hour menu!
The Experience – While I admittedly was not a big fan of most of the Ruskie Zakuski Experience, I did really like that it encouraged me to try a lot of new foods and get a nice overview of Russian cuisine.
Would I recommend Kachka? For sure, especially if you got those dishes listed above. Would I recommend the Ruskie Zakuski Experience? If you are a real adventurous eater and want a fun, lengthy dinner, then yes. But be sure to order a side of dumplings as well since they aren’t included. If you’re a little squeamish when it comes to meats and fish, I’d recommend sticking just with the dumplings.
Interested in seeing what else our Supper Club is up to? Follow along at #SupperClubPDX!