We’re going to go ahead and guess that you don’t have any doilies in your apartment. Nothing against doilies. The ornamental lace trivets are pleasant, and might make you nostalgic for someone who you used to do jigsaw puzzles with over powdered iced tea mix that you pretended to like but really just spit out in the bathroom - which was covered in doilies. But, even if you don’t have lacy white coasters on your TV stand, it’s nice to spend time somewhere that has that kind of sensibility.
Eating at Dacha Diner, an Eastern European restaurant on Capitol Hill, is kind of like eating inside a humongous doily. White lace curtains cover the windows and door, through which tons of natural light pour in, even if it’s pouring rain. The plates beneath the blinis and reuben sandwiches are mismatched and decorated with floral prints. There’s an antique dresser in the corner, and a quiet hum about the whole place, even when it’s packed. Think of Dacha Diner as the well-mannered understudy for your living room, only with way more latkes and vodka (probably). It’s there to take care of you when you don’t have time to take care of yourself.
Eastern European food is rare in Seattle, which means that good Eastern European food is even rarer. But the Russian, Georgian, and Jewish dishes coming out of Dacha are so good that they have the power to take your mind off of newly endangered species and the string of passive-aggressive post-it notes your roommate left you explaining how to wash a dish. Pork pelmeni dumplings and warm chicken soup with dill-y matzo balls are there for you when someone uses your debit card to buy a storage unit, a night at Motel 6, and $100 worth of Papa John’s. And the braised brisket tastes like someone gave it hourly pep talks and even slipped it some birthday money while it was cooking.
It’s also important to note that Dacha is actually from the same team behind one of our favorite pizza spots, The Independent Pizzeria, and keeping true to their roots, the menu here involves dough and cheese. Only it’s Georgian boat-style khachapuri, topped with a combination of farmer’s cheese and salty sausage, and has a fantastic crust that’s puffy in the middle and crispy on the outside.
It’s all food that makes you feel good. And who knows, a hearty dinner here might even inspire you to bring back the doily. The world is overdue.
It’s warm, immensely comforting, and you should add the matzo balls, which are soft but don’t fall apart easily. The dill keeps the flavor interesting without making the whole thing taste like a bowl of pickles.
For such little dumplings, the pork and beef filling is juicy, well-salted, and gets along nicely with the fresh herbs and dollop of sour cream. An order of these is necessary for the table.
Leave it to pizza people to make a mean khachapuri. This Georgian-style cheese-filled bread is in the shape of an eye, and it’s filled with farmers cheese and sausage from George’s deli. You could order one with other toppings like an egg yolk or chard, but we are fans of the salty cured meat cutting through the tanginess of the cheese. If you’re truly in a hurry, know that these take 20 minutes to cook. We’ll wait.
If you’re in the market for a big plate of meat and potatoes, you’ve come to the right place. This braised brisket is so tender that you could eat it with a spoon, and the rich sauce it comes with goes perfectly with the pickle-y potato salad.