My Ukrainian-born dental hygienist recommended Traktir, when I told her I was looking for a good Russian restaurant in Los Angeles. She nailed it. Traktir is more than just good.
The restaurant is run by Russians, most it the diners are Russians and it’s located in West Hollywood, where there is a significant Russian immigrant population. My Russian and Romanian grandparents would approve. The menu at Traktir reflects the cultural heritage with which I grew up.
On our first visit to Traktir, three of us decided to share an assortment of appetizers and skip the entrees. Again, at the recommendation of my dental hygienist, we ordered the herring with potatoes. Sensational. I love herring and there were two other herring dishes listed on the menu for a future visit. Herring Moskovsky is herring on dark toast; and there’s also a chopped herring offering.
The Traktir house salad combined tomato, corn, cucumber, egg, green onion and lettuce in a Ranch style dressing. A perfect complement to the assortment of hot and cold appetizers we ordered.
Our Russian trio Vareniki included fillings of potato, meat, and mushrooms and sauerkraut. They are a Russian version of a Chinese wanton, or a Jewish kreplach.
Golubsky is a wonderfully delicious stuffed cabbage. I’ll admit it was better than the excellent stuffed cabbage my mother used to make, or what I make myself.
Finally, there was the gefilte fish. I wasn’t going to order it because my mother made the best gefilte fish I’ve ever tasted and it didn’t seem like true Russian food. But our friend, Amanda, said she had bought some to have at home and it was very good. So, we gave it a shot. She was right. They offer it “red” with a hint of grated beets, and “white,” without the beets.
Available entrees include chicken; lamb; beef or pork shashlik; beef stroganoff; and chicken tabaka, a Russian preparation of Cornish game hen.
Traktir, translated, has nothing to do with a farm vehicle. It means tavern, a place to relax and enjoy great food and drink. And that’s just what you’ll get at this West Hollywood spot.