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Cold, Buffalo? Eat what Siberians eat

Frost-rimed February got you ready to throw yourself a pity party? Might as well have the right snacks. Consider pelmeni, comfort food born in the most uncomfortable place on Earth.

In Siberia, where the average February temperature is around -5 F, with lows near -40 F, little dumplings stuffed with beef and pork help keep people going. They’re called pelmeni, and they’re one of the lunchtime offerings at Slavic Bazzar, 1550 William St. (895-1404).

Slavic Bazzar exterior

Slavic Bazzar exterior. (Andrew Galarneau/Special to the News)

The pig in the pot gives you a clue to goings-on inside. It’s an extensive pan-Slavic grocery, a Russian-style dumpling factory, and a lunch counter.

A recent visit left me deeply satisfied by Slavic Bazzar’s pelmeni, borscht and smoked kielbasa lunches, which are not only delicious, but cheap enough to draw bargain-hunters as well as culinary explorers.

Slavic Bazzar pelmeni, Siberian dumplings stuffed with beef and pork

Slavic Bazzar pelmeni, Siberian dumplings stuffed with beef and pork

What do I mean by cheap? What would you pay for this piece of smoked kielbasa (featured picture), scored and crisped up, and topped with caramelized onions? Plus a piece of chewy crusted sourdough rye bread?

Slavic Bazzar bread

Slavic Bazzar bread. (Andrew Galarneau/Special to the News)

It's $2.20 at Slavic Bazzar. (Plus tax, and you get one piece of bread.)

Would you pay $2.20 for that? Then Slavic Bazzar is a place you should see.

The interior of the Slavic Bazzar, which is both a restaurant and grocery store. (Andrew Galarneau/Special to the News)

The interior of the Slavic Bazzar, which is both a restaurant and grocery store. (Andrew Galarneau/Special to the News)

Check out the board and order at the counter. The ladies will hustle to make your lunch. There are two or three tables available. Pressed for time? You can phone ahead and order if you know what you want.

Borscht is $2.49., and when she asks you if you want sour cream, the answer is "yes." It's got beets and pork and onions and cabbage, and it's made there.

Slavic Bazzar borscht

Slavic Bazzar borscht. (Andrew Galarneau/Special to the News)

The borscht tastes like beets. If beets aren't your thing, there's always the chicken noodle, 50 cents less, at $1.99.

Slavic Bazzar chicken noodle soup

Slavic Bazzar chicken noodle soup. (Andrew Galarneau/Special to the News)

Cabbage rolls at $2 each, but they don't skimp on the sour cream.

Slavic Bazzar cabbage rolls with sour cream

Slavic Bazzar cabbage rolls with sour cream. (Andrew Galarneau/Special to the News)

Peppery breaded pork chop, $2.20.

Slavic Bazzar breaded pork chop

Slavic Bazzar breaded pork chop. (Andrew Galarneau/Special to the News)

And pelmeni. They're little bites of meaty happiness wrapped in a tender pasta hug.

Slavic Bazzar pelmeni, double order

Slavic Bazzar pelmeni, double order. (Andrew Galarneau/Special to the News)

If you have two people, you need a double order. All of $6, big whoop.

Feel any better, Buffalo?

Here’s the menu. Call to make sure, because sometimes dishes run out.

MENU

Slavic Bazzar menu

Slavic Bazzar menu. (Andrew Galarneau/Special to the News)

Send your restaurant tips to agalarneau@buffnews.com

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