The only Russian dish I have ever had in my life was beef stroganoff, which my late uncle used to make on occasion. I was actually in Australia when Australian MP John Murphy actually complained about the small portion of beef stroganoff his wife was served in the parliamentary cafetaria during a Parliament session. He was subsequently forced to apologize after being criticized for using the House of Representatives as a platform to lodge his complaint. I am pretty sure that the news barely made a blip around the world, but the Australian media actually had a field day with it.
My best friend and I decided on Cinderella Cafe because it seemed the most affordable option in San Francisco for Russian food. We figured that with lower menu prices, we would be able to try more Russian dishes between the two of us.
Cinderella Cafe is located on Richmond in the heart of Little Russia in San Francisco and is staffed by friendly Russian servers. I ordered the golubtsy with a side of buckwheat kasha and blinchiki with sweet cheese filling for dessert while my friend ordered the borscht soup and pelmeni.
The food did not take long to arrive. Golubtsy is a cabbage roll dish stuffed with rice and meat served with a tomato vegetable sauce and blinchiki is a thin Russian pancake akin to French crepe. The blinchiki was served with a side of raspberry jam and sour cream. They were both delicious.
I have always hated beets all my life. I feel like they taste like dirt and can't for the life of me imagine why anyone would voluntarily eat them. My best friend had no such qualms. I was prepared to hate the borscht soup, which is basically beet soup, but found myself loving the hearty taste. It wasn't until later that I realize that the soup actually had a tomato base rather than a beet one, which might explained why I actually like it despite the fact that it contains beets.
Her pelmeni was a meat-filled dumpling that came in a clear broth and it was served with sour cream on the side. Sour cream seems to be the cream of choice with Russians. The pelmeni was reminiscent of Chinese food, akin to Chinese dumplings, which shouldn't actually be all that surprising considering that Russia and China are neighbors.
As far as I can tell, the Russian food here is authentic and very affordable. Since then I have dragged another friend there to try the baked goods here. My best friend and I hope to come back one day to try the other Russian dishes we didn't get a chance to partake during our first dining experience here.