Being an almost-native San Diegan and more interested in delicious cuisine than keeping my figure bikini ready, I had heard a tale of a restaurant named Pomegranate. Some folks whispered that it was in North Park, while others maintained it existed in South Park. Wanting to try new cuisine and puzzle out this mystery started me on my Russian cuisine quest. There are two Russian restaurants in San Diego with similar names. Pomegranate is on El Cajon in North Park and Kafe Sobaka Restoran Pomegranate is on Broadway in South Park. I would try both. I am a child of the Eighties and I recall that Russians were always the bad guys. What would Russian cuisine entail? Cold beet dishes and frowning, giant waiters just waiting for me to slip up? Would there even be toilet paper in the bathrooms? I was fearful but determined...

Firstly, upon walking through the doors of North Park Pomegranate, your senses are immediately assailed with mouth-watering aromas made possible only by hours of low heat. The waitstaff of young Ruskies I hope that is not derogatory were kind and offered help immediately. I left my appetizer and entree selection in their capable hands and had a cup of tea. Have you ever had Russian tea? I am a tea drinker and their addition of cherry juice to sweeten it, is just, like, the best idea ever. Cold War over.

My first course arrived, a selection of cold salads and vegetarian Borscht. Cold grated carrots with walnuts does not sound appealing, but the taste and texture are like nothing I had ever had before. They add fresh dill and capers to the potato salad which would be the star of any picnic. And my beloved Borscht....who knew that you had so many subtle herbs and are served hot!! The Eighties lied to me.

My entree, “Georgian Eagle,” arrives and is a chicken dish with garlic, spinach and tomatoes. Someone’s grandmother must be in the kitchen. This dish melts in your mouth and would be perfection on a cold Russian day. Plane tickets purchased via mobile app.

Shall I order dessert? It wasn’t really a question. The helpful waitstaff steered me toward the honeycake. If tiramisu and cheesecake had a baby and then drizzled pomegranate syrup over it, it would be honeycake. My only slightly negative comment regarding North Park Pomegranate was the honeycake was served alongside completely unnecessary ice cream. I know!! I am complaining about ice cream. It must be Bizarro Day.

I am one who dines and this was one of the best experiences I have ever had. The decor makes you feel like you have entered a different country at a different time. There are old standards being sung in Russian that play over the clinking silverware and warm conversations. The diners are happy and satisfied. The warmth from candles and pleasant experience hovers and wafts throughout the dining room.

A few days later I dined at Kafe Sobaka Restoran Pomegranate in South Park. They also serve food.