Petrushka - San Diego
Has anyone been to Petrushka, the new (I think) "Eastern European" restaurant that's a few doors down from Pomegranate? Any reviews?
I drove by here today. It seems so strange that a restaurant offering such a unique cuisine to this area would spawn off another near exact restaurant two doors down ( if you believe what one of the yelp reviewers states). It's not like its a taqueria.
One of the other yelp reviewers dismisses that claim - that the owners are the same so I am really intrigued by this place. I hope they have some good stuffed cabbage and borscht and are less expensive than Pomegranate.
The owners of Pomegranate, the popular Russian-Georgian restaurant on El Cajon Boulevard in North Park, have opened an offshoot eatery just a few doors down called Petrushka (2312 El Cajon Blvd.). Petrushka’s menu is more broadly Eastern European, featuring everything from Hungarian dishes like goulash and chicken paprikash to an Albanian cheese platter and home-made Russian blinchiki stuffed with cheese and jam. The bar list is also extensive, with a rotating selection of Eastern European beers and wine.
I must know if you have tried Pomegranate and think the same? Is this nothing special remark in regards to Petrushka? The reason being that last I ate at Pomegranate I had the dish with chicken cooked/fried under a river rock and it was amazing. Whether they used a rock or a skillet im not sure but either way the flavors and accompanying ingredients to the plate were stellar. Making me very curious as to the new endeavor that is Petrushka. And yes the owner and staff were most gracious when I last ate there with my family.
We went to Petrushka.
Insanely expensive. As in, unbelievably and ridiculously expensive. As in, we won't ever be going back expensive.
Goulash (a small little cup of it, served w/ a pile of plain couscous - no veggies anywhere)- $18.50
Two ground beef skewers with 1 slice of pita bread cut in half and a pile of marinated onions/cilantro- $20!!!
Blinchiki appetizer (3 tiny 3 inch long crepes, with pork)- $11
2 Balkan coffees - $12!!!
1 dessert to share - $12
3 beers - $24!!!
TOTAL BILL BEFORE TIP - $105
Insane. For two people eating a quick dinner at a completely empty hole in the wall, the price was ridiculous. Why this stings as much as it does is because half the things we got weren't listed on the menu (the server told us about them). That was no fault of ours, since the things we had originally wanted the server informed were no longer on the menu. So we were putting our faith in the off-menu dishes and extras being reasonably priced. Also, for having a selection of over 30 beers, they didn't have a printed beer/wine list. So, $8 for each bottle of beer added up quick. So did the $6 a piece coffees. But really, $20 for two skewers? To boot, they were the "special" for the night. So special, that they cooked them on a cart in the alley next to the restaurant. No joke. Pomegranate was doing the same thing that night. Unbelievable that they cost $20. Essentially the same dish that you get at Daphne's Greek cafe, minus the salad/sides and the larger portion size.
Granted, the flavor of the food was good, and everything tasted authentic. In fact, the dishes were very tasty. The meat in the goulash was downright delicious. I'm actually still craving it. But the plates still all had that same under-garnished and not very cohesive presentation that many dishes at new restaurants tend to have. Again, there were no true sides with the dishes, and not very large portions. In any case, the dishes, the atmosphere (think of pomegranate without the coziness - oddly empty in the decoration), nor the service justified the prices. Pretty much everything we got should've been priced at half of what we paid. Goulash is a dish made from the "lesser" stewing chunks of meat. Same goes for the ground pork in the Blinchikis and the ground meat used to make the skewers. So, it's a shame that they're charging what they are for them.
By the way, as soon as we first sat down, we were informed that they were cash only. So, we asked where the nearest ATM was, and we had the choice of the Gas station next door, or the bar on the other side. Good thing I got out as much cash as I did.
Ultimately, it was our fault for not "price-checking" every item we ordered. But it gets tiring having to ask after every item/course (how much was that beer? And how much is that dessert? And how much are those coffees?). Things have a market value. And for someone who goes out a lot, you get comfortable knowing that you can count on that value being relatively the same wherever you go. Anyway, cheers to Petrushka for offering the cuisine that they are. But, for their own good, I'd think about lowering their prices.
We had the exact same experience the last time we went to Pomegranate, which has a lot in common with Petrushka.
It was kind of embarrrassing because we were there with a large group of friends (8 of us) who were all there on my recommendation. The owner was very charming and gracious, and in such a jovial, fun atmosphere, it's easy to just follow his suggestions - all of which sounded like they'd be fairly reasonably priced, some of which were off the menu and several things would be shared. At the end of the night, a few friends were scrambling to borrow cash from the rest of us. Everything was WAY more than we thought it would be, and it ended up being a pretty pricey night out for a meal that was supposed to be simple, Eastern European home-cooking and therefore, presumed to be not super expensive. I felt really bad for my friends, and I'm sure many of them went home grumbling about not expecting to pay so much. If I recall correctly, it was about $135/per couple, and none of us ate or drank in an "over the top" way. Honestly, we felt a little scammed.
Sounds like Petrushka, right down the street, is following the same strategy as Pomegranate. What a shame because there are obviously other potential longer term customers who, like us, won't go back again based on that experience.