A bright pink paint job has given way to a fittingly Seattle gray exterior: The space that was formerly home to The Saint's tequila and tacos now brings the comfort foods of Eastern European cuisine with Jewish fare. The fine folks behind Madison Park's Independent Pizzeria softly opened Dacha Diner at the end of the December on Capitol Hill.
Inside the restaurant wedged on the corner of East Olive Way and Bellevue Avenue, owners Joe Heffernan, Tom Siegel, and Tora Hennessey have spun a simple, modern space where affordable breakfast and lunch dwell. Things such as cold smoked salmon with pickles and housemade bread, Russian chicken salad, Herring Under Fur Coat aka a traditional Russian salad layered with finely chopped pickled herrings, eggs, beets, potatoes, and carrots. Borsch with sour cream? You bet. Blini and blintz? Indeed there are: The large, folded crepe's accompanied by salmon roe and sour cream for the former and two pan-fried crepes filled with farmer's cheese, fruit compote, and sour cream in the construction of the latter. To drink there's plenty of coffee, and a few beers and wines on tap. (I strongly advocate for pilsners at noon with vareniki and hot cup of earthy borsch.)
You can bet on soft, hot morsels of dumplings: Russian pelmeni with beef and potato or hexagonal Ukrainian-style vareniki, which come by the dozen just about, with either farmer's cheese or mushroom and sauerkraut. Hennessey says diners quipped they could have three bowls or it. I doubt they were kidding.
Other entrees include khachapuri, boat-shaped Georgian cheese bread—and you best believe these pie pros know how to throw down what is essentially Georgian pizza—then there's stuffed cabbage rolls, brisket, and more to come as Dacha gets acclimated to its new digs.
See those Dacha Diner digs, 1416 East Olive Way, for yourself Monday through Friday 8am until 2pm and on weekends from 8am until 3pm.