Dishin’: Longing for Our Pal, Pelmeni

Still lamenting Seattle’s lack of quality xiao long bao, Seattlest picked up a copy of A World of Dumplings and decided we’d start making them on our own. (Refining the recipe will take time, so don’t hold your breath on a restaurant opening anytime soon.). While thumbing through the book, we stumbled upon a recipe for our old pal, pelmeni.

We discovered these Eastern European dumplings a few years ago while traveling in Juneau. Down by one of the docks was a place called Pel’Meni, serving what the locals say are the essentials of the after-hours: espresso and the namesake pelmeni. The choices were meat and potato, accompanied by a tangy red sauce, sour cream, and hearty bread. Fifteen for five bucks, we recall, and available until 3:30am some nights, with good tunes a-playin’. And they were delicious!

Having a hankering, we went down to Pike Place Market, passed the previously reviewed Piroshky place, and visited Café Yarmarka. We were excited to see a wide variety of fillings: beef, pork, chicken, turkey and lamb–depending on what they’ve prepared. But they were a bit disappointing. These pelmeni were a little mushy outside and a little bland inside.

Most lacking was the sauce. We still dream of that sauce in Juneau: fat from the butter (and added sour cream), with kick from curry powder and Tabasco, and nice notes from cilantro. No wonder they served bread with the dish: without it, we would have been licking the Styrofoam. Café Yarmarka may be good for other Russian goodies, but if you’re down in that part of Seattle craving pelmeni and have some (well, lots) of extra time on your hands, you’re just a boat-ride away from better ones in Juneau. (If anyone can substantiate a rumor that there’s a branch in Bellingham, please let us know.)

Originally published at Seattlest (where “we” = me) on March 3, 2008.

Cafe Yarmarka on Urbanspoon



4 Responses to “Dishin’: Longing for Our Pal, Pelmeni”

  1. Pel'meni
    March 18, 2009 at 12:57 am #

    Yes, there is a Pel’meni in Bellingham, same owners. And we are planning on expanding to Seattle shortly. Making the rounds in a late night mobile in Fremont and then on to the summer markets and festivals. We are hoping to get a store open in the next 6 months to a year, recessions dependent.

  2. admin
    March 18, 2009 at 7:15 am #

    So glad to learn this news. Let us know when you bring your goodies to Seattle!

  3. Miranda
    May 9, 2009 at 10:29 pm #

    I live in Bellingham and I can confirm that there is a fabulous little pelmeni place here that serves exactly what you’re talking about! I tried them just this year, and I’m hooked! If you want to find the address, just find the Buffalo Exchange, and the shop is right next door. They serve only meat and potato filling and all the extras as well (red sauce, sour cream, and curry powder with a slice of bread). Good eating!

  4. admin
    May 10, 2009 at 8:59 am #

    Thanks, Miranda! Look forward to checking it out when I next get to Bellingham…

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