Armed with a Groupon and our love perogies we headed to Roxolana Ukrainian restaurant in Old Town Pasadena. Vegetarian options were limited but we knew that going in having viewed the menu online but. We've eaten at great Ukrainian places like Veselka in New York City and we had high hopes that just such an establishment, offering Eastern European comfort food, to satisfy our Eastern European sensibilities had cropped up in our neck of the woods. The food and the service left us disappointed.
We ordered a number of different dishes all of which came out at the same time making our table hard to navigate and letting some food cold by the time we got to it.
We also, in an effort to find something our 3 year old was willing to eat ordered a side of white beans. (Our kid, as all 3 year olds are, is pretty finicky about what he'll put in his mouth and a plain cooked bean of some kind is one of those items.) They delivered a plate of baked beans to the table. Baked beans, which is okay in our palette, but certainly not plain dish, and not particularly Ukrainian for that better, were not only not what we ordered, but not what we wanted either. After mentioning this to the waiter who thought he was doing as a favor, he responded with the unforgettable "Beans is beans." I restrained myself from launching into a dissertation about the differences between black beans, pinto beans, kidney, beans and baked beans and just sent the dish back.
My wife and I started with the borscht. It was beautifully presented but bland. The only flavor it had came from the sour cream included in it. Hello Eastern Europe...we are in your restaurant....give us the best you have from your region's signature dish....a bowl of red nothing just didn't cut it.
We supplemented the soup with an order of Vierniki and potato pancakes. Vierniki were like boiled pierogies. They were okay...decent dough, but again a little bland. The potato pancakes were like then potato crepes...unique I suppose, but also bland and again needing the sour cream accompaniment to give it any flavor. Again with our Eastern European sensibility, any order of any kind of potato that had been fried would typically satisfy us which left us particularly disappointed at this poor excuse for latkes.
The waiter made us feel like he needed to prove he was 'right' with every interaction. It's almost worth flying to New York City to eat at Veselka to redeem the entire culinary Ukrainian nation...We left hungry and disappointed in every possible way. We definitely will not return.
For more reviews from a vegetarian perspective, visit Rick and Addie's veggie food blog: http://poetrysuperhighway.com/vfb
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