For many, Kachka is shocking: A place that serves Russian-inspired food has become one of the most famous restaurants in the U.S. Chef-owner Bonnie Morales rose to fame through her talent for and vision of taking her parents' memories of Soviet Union-era plates and using that nostalgia as a jumping-off point. Plus, there's lots of vodka, Russian pop hits and sour cream, obviously.
In 2018, Kachka relocated several blocks away from the original location and opened Kachinka, a rowdier cousin of sorts, in the Southeast Grand Avenue space. The new Kachka has added reservations, lunch and lots of fresh plates. Its grandiose digs are more appropriate for the seriousness of Morales' cooking, but the venue retains that look and feel of what it must've been like in 1980s Eastern Europe.
For first-time visitors, it's all about knowing how to navigate the menu. Visit for dinner and order the Ruskie Zakuski Experience ($30), a parade of small plates designed for vodka. For more daring dishes, the Herring Under a Fur Coat ($9) is a beautiful tower of layers—potato, pickled herring, carrot, beet, mayo, egg, onion.
And you can't go wrong with the crowd pleasers. The handmade wrappers for the Siberian pelmeni dumplings ($13) melt in your mouth, revealing a juicy beef, pork and veal center; they're even better if you add the "fancy broth" that's meaty and buttery ($2). Or there's the rabbit in a clay pot ($29), which is worth its spendy price tag; the accompanying pan-seared draniki, or Belarusian potato cakes, seem designed to soak up that sensual, sour cream-based sauce.
Pro tip: For those who don't want to deal with reservations or the crowds, Kachka's lunch hours are a solid alternative. The menu has several hits—Herring Under a Fur Coat, those dumplings—and it's the only time to try the full lineup of new stuffed Russian-style crepes, aka blini ($9-$11).