Location: 8151 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046. (323) 654-3030
Date: July 25, 2019
Cuisine: Russian Cuisine
Erick’s Russian friends told him that Taktir was the best Russian place in town and so we had to try it.
This is the West Hollywood location, there is also one over in the valley, in Tarzana. I have no idea if one is better than the other.
They have a big outside patio.
Seen from the other side.
And the interior (we sat to the left there).
From my cellar: NV Krug Champagne Brut Rosé. VM 94. The NV Brut Rosé is brilliant and finely-sculpted in the glass, with floral aromatics, pulsating minerality and chiseled fruit. Less austere than it can be, the Rosé impresses for its combination of tension and textured, phenolic weight. There is so much to like. The blend is 59% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay and 8% Pinot Meunier. Disgorged Spring 2013.
Pickled Vegetable Combination. Tomato, Cucumber, Cabbage. Just like at the Jewish deli!
Homemade Cured Salmon. Really nice cured salmon actually. Not too salty but great flavor.
Larry brought: 2013 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Les Forêts. VM 89. Pale, bright yellow. Stone fruits and oyster shell on the nose. Supple, sweet and fruity, showing a bit more grip than the village wine but still in an essentially soft style. Drinkable now for its ripe stone fruit flavors.
Olivier Salad. Russian potato salad. Lots of dill!
Herring «Moskovsky». Herring on Dark Toast with Butter & Onions. This very north eastern dish was spectacular. Super fresh tasting marinated herring with onion and in perfect balance with the toast.
Darnitsky Salad. Tomato, Cucumber, Onion, Feta, Cilantro, Parsley, Dill, House Vinaigrette. Not a bad salad at all, lots of vinegar.
Salo. Cured Pork Fat Garnished with Garlic. I was a touch wary of these sheets of solid lard, but they turned out to be great with the incredibly strong mustard.
The mustard was so good we had to ask to see the jar.
Red Caviar. 4 oz served with Blinis and Garnish. The cheap caviar, but still pretty good on the little pancakes and with the sour cream.
Pougs brought: 2005 Domaine Francois Lamarche Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots. 92 points. Medium+ colour. Some animaux, beautifully perfumed red fruit and then caramel. Wonderfully intense and nuanced red fruit palate, it is absolutely perfect today. The suave fruit and tertiary notes are fully forward. No need to be afraid of tannin in this 2005 – this is beautiful.
Kharcho. Spicy Tomato Based Lamb Soup with Rice. Nice soup, basically goulash.
Golubtsy. Stuffed Cabbage with Ground Meat and Rice. This is such a traditional Kosher Jewish dish and this particular version of it was so good. Tender and delicious.
Yarom brought: 2004 Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana IGT. VM 93. The inky-colored 2004 Redigaffi, 100% Merlot aged for 16 months in new oak, offers expressive, nuanced aromatics along with sensations of richly-textured blue and black jammy fruit, minerals, mint, chocolate, spices and sweet toasted oak on big, powerful frame with notable underlying structure and a warm, resonating finish. Although it has enough structure and acidity to drink well for another decade or so, I enjoy Redigaffi most in its youth.
Vareniki Combination. Potato Vareniki. Russian style Dumpling with Potato Filling. Sauerkraut Vareniki. Russian Style Dumpling with Sauerkraut filling. Not bad at all, but not as good as below.
Pelmeni. Meat Filled Tortellini served with Sour Cream. Wow these were spectacular. Tender little pasta pockets (heavily boiled) but with a nice meaty flavor and in perfect combo with the sour cream.
2006 M. Chapoutier Ermitage l’Ermite. VM 94. Full ruby. A roomfilling bouquet of fresh red and dark berry scents, along with smoked meat, violet, incense and minerals. Wonderfully fresh in the mouth, with vibrant raspberry and black cherry flavors. Gentle tannins rein in the expansive fruit without standing in its way. The finish is all about fruit, with late-arriving notes of black olive and smoky minerals. Extremely sexy now but balanced to age.
Lula Kebab. Ground Meat with Spices.
Super grill plate with:
Chicken Shashlik. Marinated Chicken in House Spices.
Pork Shashlik. Marinated Pork in Special House Sauce.
Lamb Shashlik. Lamb Marinated in Herbs & Spices.
Beef Tenderloin Shashlik. Beef Tenderloin Marinated in Herbs & Spices.
Lula Kebab. Ground Meat with Spices.
Potatoes and slaw.
2003 Colgin IX Estate. VM 93. Ruby-red. Explosive aromas of black raspberry, minerals, graphite and flowers. Wonderfully sweet and dense, with a superripe suggestion of maple syrup and a note of hot rocks. Finishes with huge, chewy but well-buffered tannins and a lingering note of caramel. Perhaps the least lively today of these 2003s, but winemaker Aubert notes that the 2003 vintage in general here brought higher-than-average acidity.
Grilled 16 oz French Cut Pork Chop. Served on a Sizzling Skillet with Mushroom & Onions.
Beef Stroganoff. Sliced Beef in Sour Cream Sauce. Very soft, but the meat itself was quite tasty.
Chicken Tabaka. Pan Seared Pressed Cornish Hen in a Garlic Wine Sauce.
Lamb Chops. Marinated in Our Special Sauce & Flame Grilled.
Kotleti. Ground Meat Patties served with mashed potatoes.
House-made flavored vodkas!
Raspberry vodka. Sweet and not too harsh.
NV Buller Calliope Rare Tokay. VM 95. Deep amber. Spiced nuts, Cuban coffee, toffee, melted butter and brown sugar aromas are broad and explosive. This completely coats the glass. Thick and viscous, with powerful flavors of vanilla bean, honey, Bananas Foster and toffeed apple. This almost overwhelms the palate. Clings on the back end, showing almost oily concentration and unreal length. Remarkable stuff.
A chocolate and cream parfait.
Italian Lemon Cookie Meringue Pie — Limoncello Zabaione base with lemon cookie flavor mixed with Italian Lemon Creme Cookies and Sicilian Candied Lemon and topped with house-made toasted Meringue — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato) — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #lemon #LemonCookie #cookie #Sicily #Sorento #Limoncello #Meringue #LemonMeringuePie
Radical new flavor: Gianduja Extra Virgin Olive Oil — a tricky high fat EVOO base made with 2014 Giuseppe Quintarelli Olive Oil and layered with house-made Piedmontese Hazelnut and Valrhona Chocolate Ganache — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato) — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #evoo #OiliveOil #Quintarelli #SavorySweet #ganache #valrhona #chocolate #hazelnut
In the bowl.
Overall, this was a very fun evening and Traktir over delivered in terms of food quality and tastiness. It’s not the most updated interior, or slickest service, but the food just tasted really good — at least most of the dishes. Many of these dishes are similar to classic Jewish food (like my mom sometimes cooks) and are among the best versions I’ve had. Certainly the best stuffed derma (stuffed cabbage). This isn’t a Jewish place per se — it does have cured pork fat on the menu — but eastern Jewish food is so influenced by Russian. Not every dish was perfect, but enough were really good, like the herring, stuffed cabbage, meat dumplings, that I was fairly impressed.