A couple of weeks ago I was bombarded with Ukrainian food at St. Albert’s Taste of Ukraine for a going away party for a coworker. And although we will miss her, it was nice to know that we were able to have a good time (with good food!) one last time before she left us for a new position in Waterloo.
Taste of Ukraine was entirely unheard of for me, even when they did have an Edmonton location. According to my coworker, this is one of the few truly Ukrainian restaurants in the area. Uncle Ed’s is the other, what was described as more homecooked Ukrainian food, whereas Taste of Ukraine is a little bit fancier. We arrived at 6pm on a Sunday and place was packed! The restaurant is quite large with an artificial tree to boot.
The walls are aligned with artwork, imported from Ukraine, with proceeds going to support those artists. Pretty outstanding that the restaurant also serves as an art gallery! Tables are decorated with different traditional cross-stitched cloths and Easter bread, lacquered and preserved as candle holders.
We had a table for seven and service was quick and efficient. The menu is extensive and for those new to Ukrainian food, you can order a plate of 3 dishes or plate of 4 dishes as a combo and choose from a list of items. Thankfully, Jessica’s mind works similarly to mine, so we ordered all the items available to try. Christina also wanted in on this sharing extravaganza and also contributed to the cause. The only item we didn’t order was the vegetable medley. We could only assume that it was just cooked vegetables.
The pyrohy were soooo good! Thinly wrapped, similar texture to a wonton, and nothing at all like the Cheemo perogies my mother buys for our freezer. The potato with cottage cheese was actually quite light, and the sauerkraut perogies were delicious! I’m not normally a fan of sauerkraut, but even the dish itself was well done. Not actually that sour. As with the sauerkraut, the cabbage rolls were done almost the same way. The pyrizhky was addictive, potato filled buns (on a slightly sweeter side), baked in cream.
The buckwheat kasha was nicely cooked and flavored nicely. Must have been cooked in a broth. Topped with a bacon onion mixture, it was definitely one of the healthier dishes on the menu. The cornmeal nachynka was similar to a polenta, and I think was our least favorite item of the meal. Potatoes dressed in cream and dill were delicious although nothing in particular stood out.The nalysnyky, a thin crepe filled with cheese, were also dressed similar to the potatoes. Mmm! We also tried the Tsar’s Pot of Meatballs. We thought the order would be enough to share with the entire table but nope! These meatballs, served in a cute ceramic pot and layered with a rich beef brown gravy, was definitely for a Cindy-sized Tsar. Nice and moist though!
Of all the items we tried, I would definitely order the perogies, the cabbage roll, the pyrizhky, and the buckwheat again! Or just get four orders of perogies, that works too.
The boss #1 ordered chicken kyiv, Taste of Ukraine’s signature dish. Also of Ukrainian descent, he ordered the dish with the mindset of “go hard or go home”. Essentially a breaded chicken breast, but deep-fried to seal in a seasoned herb butter in the middle. Whoa. It was delicious and moist, but eat it fast before the butter solidifies. As if deep-frying it wasn’t enough, it was topped with a creamy mushroom sauce. All entrees also gets your choice of two traditional side dishes as well.
Boss #2 (he’s not actually my boss but I call all managers bosses) ordered a soup (unpictured) and studynetz, a traditional dish of jellied pork served with a side of vinegar, picanted horseradish beets and housemade pickles. Looked a lot like headcheese! I didn’t get to try it though, so all I can tell you was that it looked interesting.
Boss #1 shared with Boss #3 (who use to be boss #1 actually) a plate of mini mushroom perogies with a heaping serving of bacon and onions.
None of the guys stayed for dessert, which really made it easier for the girls to order whatever we wanted without being judged! Between the four of us, we ordered the lemon poppyseed cake with cream cheese icing; apple mlyntsi, crepes filled with home-grown apples and fried in butter; and sour cherry varenyky, because we can’t get enough of perogies. I can’t even choose a favorite! They were all good. The poppyseed cake was extremely moist, and tart… that is until you have the sour cherry varenyky, which was extremely tart without the addition of the whipped cream! The crepes were fried to the point that they had a crispy exterior but the apple fillings were still nice and soft. Very well done.
Definitely need to come back to Taste of Ukraine! Well-made Ukrainian food. No more Cheemos for me! Heading north on St. Albert Trail you have to do some funky navigating as there’s no left turn into the parking lot. Best is to head southbound on St. Albert Trail if you can manage it. Parking is available. Check it out next time you’re in St. Albert.Taste of Ukraine
516 St Albert Trail