There is little danger of leaving hungry from the Green Room Kukhnya, where an absurdly large menu covers a breadth of comfort food classics from Eastern Europe and America. Diners not craving stuffed cabbage or pierogi can fill up on burgers and fries.
Chef/owner Matthew Ribachonek’s hearty menu features call-outs to Russia, Poland, Bulgaria and Ukraine, and several plates are holdovers from his tenure running the kitchen at the former Siberia Lounge.
The Green Room’s no-frills interior features dim lighting, a lot of green and some booths and tables, none of it designed for comfort. The food, however, is a different story.
To cover the basics, there’s the Slavic sampler: an assortment of smoked Polish kielbasa; kapusta, cabbage braised with vinegar and spices; two golubtsy, cabbage rolls stuffed with meat or mushrooms, rice, peas and carrots and baked in a sweet pepper and tomato sauce; two pierogis; and a garlic buttered roll. The price tag for that dish, the most expensive item on the menu, is $13.50.
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Kapusta appeared throughout the menu, a bracing complement to rich, hearty dishes. The pierogi were delicately browned beneath sweet onions. The meat golubtsy offered more flavor than its mushroom counterpart, but both were tasty. The garlic roll was almost too good and is hard not to finish despite the bounty of food.
An entree of chicken shashlik, marinated and grilled on skewers with peppers and onions, came drizzled in a Georgian plum sauce called tkemali, served with grilled asparagus and Russian potato salad accented with dill.
The extensive blini selection covers savory and sweet territory. A server recommended spinach and mushroom, and tempting options include one with spiced apples and goat cheese.
Green Room makes excellent sandwiches and burgers, from standard beef to its signature beet burger, served on onion buns. Like everything else, they are generously portioned. The Reuben included corned beef, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing jazzed up with kapusta on buttered and grilled rye bread. The C-B sandwich has corned beef, cheddar and sweet sauteed onions on a grilled bun. Burgers start at $6, and the Reuben is $8.50.
Vegetarian options are plentiful, and while it’s easy to put together a heavy meal, it’s also possible to fill up on salads and pickled vegetables.
For specials, there was a sweet-and-sour Russian soup called soleyanka as well as a lamb burger with kashkaval cheese, a Bulgarian sheep’s milk provolone, and ajvar, a Serbian eggplant and red pepper spread.
Of the many dishes I tried, only two were less than satisfying: vegetarian borscht, which was thin and lacked flavor, and the Ukrainian meatballs, served with a gluey mushroom and beef gravy.
The Eastern European influence extends to beverages. Most specialty cocktails are $8, including the tasty Czech Yourself, a concoction made with Becherovka, an herbal liqueur from the Czech Republic. The beer selection showcases Russian and Ukrainian labels alongside domestic offerings.
Patrons order at the bar, and servers bring orders to the table. With such an extensive menu, it’s best to bring a crowd. It’s even more important to bring an appetite.
1300 St. Bernard Ave. (504) 766-1613
dinner Wednesday-Monday, late night Thursday-Saturday
blini, burgers, pierogi
Eastern European and American comfort classics in a casual setting