In addition to my New York restaurant reviews, I’d like to share with you my thoughts on random Eastern European restaurants I visit during my various trips. These posts may not always have the depth of my traditional reviews, so I won’t provide any ratings. I’m also unlikely to write about a place if it’s not noteworthy in some capacity.
Named after famous Russian writer Boris Pasternak, Restaurant Pasternak is located in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood of Berlin. From my limited understanding of the city’s geography, this area of former-East Berlin is now famous for its designer stores, restaurants, cafés, and bars, and has become popular among American expats and European immigrants.
As if the name wasn’t enough (the Russian author wrote Doctor Zhivago and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, for Stalin’s sake!), the menu makes it clear that Restaurant Pasternak is trying to seduce a western crowd. Dishes are named after intelligentsia, proletariat, former Soviet cities, regions, or republics, and of course, the good Doctor himself. The only thing missing is a picture of Omar Sharif on the wall. What you get instead is a collection of Soviet-inspired postcards like the one below. All in all, the selection is (luckily) much shorter than Pasternak’s novel, with a number of Russian classics delivered in multiple versions, plus a small selection of Jewish specialties such as latkes and kreplach.