NewKira’s Grill owners offer Russian delights

Published on Thu, May 17, 2007 by Tara Nelson

Read More News

New Kira’s Grill owners offer Russian delights

By Tara Nelson

Kira’s restaurant has new owners and some new menu items.
Sergey and Svetlana Kravchenko, of Blaine, took over the business in February after former tenant Jean Luke moved and have performed extensive upgrades to the restaurant’s dining area and menu.

Sergey, a former security guard and all-around handyman, built new wooden tables, installed new carpet and baseboards, and added a new coat of paint. Svetlana, a long-time baker and Red Cross social worker in her former hometown of Rostov-on-don near the Don River in Russia’s Southern Federal District, cleaned the restaurant’s kitchen to a sparkle and added new equipment including a second deep fryer to keep fish and fries for the restaurant’s fish and chips separate.

The menu continues to offer many of the same dishes served by Ms. Jean (minus the catfish and collard greens) but with the addition of Russian soups, breads, cabbage rolls, and traditional Russian dumplings filled with chicken or pork (pel meni) or potatoes (vareniki) and topped with sour cream and vinegar (this reporter recommends the potato option with a healthy dose of hot sauce).

Recipes for many of the Russian menu items such as borscht, a low-fat Russian vegetable soup, are derived from restaurant founder Michael Kira’s cookbook “Unique Traditional Russian Cooking” that focuses on healthy cooking using lots of fresh produce.

Svetlana said while most Americans consider borscht a red, beet-based soup served cold with a dollop of sour cream, the term borscht, or borsh in Russian, can mean any vegetable-based soup and includes varieties such as green vegetarian borscht, vegetarian cabbage borscht and borscht with meat.

Svetlana, who bakes traditional Russian breads daily for sale at a Terry’s Farmer’s Market in Birch Bay, makes the soup fresh daily ($1.99/ cup or $2.99/ bowl) and recommends a bowl accompanied by one of her hand-made purozkee, or a large, meat-stuffed pastry served warm ($1.99).

Other baked goods include loaves of Italian ciabbatta, Italian buccato, Hungarian sourdough, flax multi-grain and dark Russian rye breads ranging in price from $2.99 to $3.99.

Sergey said they plan on offering ice cream from Edaleen Dairy in the upcoming months along with locally-grown fresh fruit and also specials for students between 3 and 5 p.m. including a $3 hot dog or hamburger and soda, and a $3 happy coffee hour between 10 and 11 a.m. with Russian sweets.

Kira’s Grill is located in the Blaine International Center between Cost Cutter and Rite Aid. They are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and can be reached by calling 332-2240.