Kiev Chef Honors His Nation's History

A month or so ago, Roxolana chef-owner Igor Zagorodnyy opened a Ukrainian restaurant to 34 S. Raymond Avenue in Old Pasadena. Today we get under the hood a bit.

The Kiev native transformed an old office building by adding crown molding, clothed tables with onyx candles, and walls plied with paint and spatulas to create an Old World look. According to Greg Napier, who consulted on the project, the name Roxolana refers to “a girl in the 16th century who was taken as a slave and sold to a sultan who had 1,499 women in his harem. She made 1,500. She ended up becoming the apple of his eye and he dismissed the rest of the harem, which was unheard of at the time.” Right. Well, at least Roxolana ended up helping him with political decisions.

The Ukraine was previously a Soviet Socialist Republic and prepares food recognizable to Russians, including borsch (beet soup) and vareniki. Unique dishes include solinka–an assortment of sausages, hams and bacon served in a veal broth with olives and fresh herbs; and Olivie 1904—a salad with potato, red caviar, beef, chicken, carrot, egg, pickles, shrimp, olives and aioli. And yes, they serve chicken Kiev. Desserts include a mousse made with The Black Doctor, a red wine from Moldova. [The Feast]

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