Saturday, November 6, 2010

Slavyanskiy Bazar - Brooklyn

Attenuating the Jetlag Recovery Formula
It's only a slight exaggeration to describe my life as being composed of two halves: jetlag and recovering from jetlag. I have different formulas depending upon the direction.  From Paris to Brooklyn: no sleep on the flight, stay up late, up early the next day, get out of the apartment and stay away until nightfall.  Today was that "next day" so I went deep into Brooklyn to a neighborhood called Gravesend and had some Ukranian food at Slavyanskiy Bazar.  It's a food that I want to like but it never cooperates.
To generalize, Ukranian food is bland.  That's a statement I'd apply equally to the green borscht below and the apple and cherry strudel above.  I bet the waitress couldn't think of any other way to describe the dessert to me in English.  "Eeets like schroodull, very dlish-uss."  Yeah, right, ok.  Umm, do we have something against fresh fruit?
The green borscht was an interesting mix of spinach, rice, potatoes and poached egg whites.  I didn't know the correct way to eat it but the accompanying spoon seemed like a hint.
It took on a totally different character when I stirred it vigorously, turning from green to white.  Not bad, it made me break out in a nice sweat.  However, I can't help but think it would have been a bit better with just a dash of something.  Salt?  Pepper?  Any kind of spice?
A lone knish rode sidesaddle and I should have left it there.  It was dull and lifeless and tasted like it had been wrapped in plastic for a few days.
I give them credit for their compote, it was more flavorful than the one I got at Karloff.  There was a thick fruit residue lurking at the bottom of the glass.
They also get points for the vibe.  The television was playing what I'm guessing was some kind of Ukranian singing competition.  I was the only English speaker in the place and for once in my life I didn't have the sourest puss.  Matter of fact, I probably looked downright happy compared to this lot.  I especially enjoyed watching the old lady on the right react nastily to every suggestion made by the waitress.
I first noticed this place about a year ago from a trip to Güllüoğlu, which is right up the street.  I enjoy coming to this stretch of Brooklyn, with a short ride on the Q train you can practically leave the US.

There are peroxide blondes, cyrillic lettering.....

Gravesend, Brooklyn

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