Kirbie's Cravings

Pomegranate Russian-Georgian Restaurant

Pomegranate Russian-Georgian Restaurant
2302 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 297-4007

About a year ago, my friend wanted to have his birthday celebration at Pomegranate Russian Georgian Restaurant (referred to hereinafter simply as "Pomegranate" because the name is way too long).  I remember being a bit skeptical about the place.  The location wasn't the best area.  It also required cash only.  I'd never had Russian food though, so I was curious to check it out.  It ended up being a very interesting, fun experience.  I've been wanting to go back ever since, but never had a chance to until now.

The place is a bit hard to find.  The sign is pretty small.

One of the most interesting things is the interior.  There is a tree in the middle of the restaurant, that grows through the ceiling of the restaurant.  Also, the walls and ceilings are filled with writing of past customers.  I'm not even sure how they got the writing on the ceiling.

Another interesting thing about the restaurant is that at the back of the restaurant, facing all the tables, sits the owner of the restaurant.  He sits there, doing the bills, eating, and watching over the customers.  It's almost like a king watching over his party of dinner guests.

All the servers have thick Russian accents, making this place seem very authentic.  When I was here over a year ago, I ordered a lamb stew.  It was very hearty, full of different spices, and kind of just how I imagined Russian food would be.  When I picture Russian food, I think stews, meat, potatoes- things to get them through a cold winter.  The waiters are pretty friendly and are happy to explain all the different Russian dishes. 

They suggested we get one of their salad appetizers, but I remember how much food I had last time and the leftovers so we decided to pass.  We started off with complimentary bread:

Boyfriend ordered the Beef Stroganoff.  Boyfriend had ordered the vegetarian version of this last time we were here, and it was amazing, so we were just dying to try the beef version.  The flavors were great.  A lovely blend of beef and mushrooms in the sauce.  I liked how they served the noodles on the side.  This was a very filling dish.

On Friday and Saturday nights only, they serve Shaslik, which is their special bbq.  They grill it outside on skewers.  One of my friends had ordered it last time, and it looked so good, that I really wanted to try it.  I ordered the lamb version. It takes about 20 minutes to cook, so we had to wait a little bit.

When it comes, they give you this whole presentation.  First, I was given a plate full of vegetables.  Then the person bbqing came over with the skewer and put the meat on my plate. He explained that he cooked it medium.  Then he poured a pomegranate glaze on the lamb.  He also explained that all the vegetables other than the squash are pickled at the restaurant.

The pickled vegetables were interesting.  After a while though, I was craving something not sour.  Especially because the pomegranate glaze sauce is also sour.  Unfortunately, my meat wasn't even close to medium.  It was well done.  Lamb well done is not very good.  I also thought that the meat wasn't that special.  It's supposed to be marinated in a yogurt or pomegranate sauce and the grilled.  They make it sound so special, only serving it two nights a week.  But for $23.50, I found this dish to be overpriced and not that great.  It basically just tasted like overgrilled lamb skewers.  I couldn't taste if it had been marinated beforehand.

My sister got the same dish, except with beef.  They explained that the beef was best with just some lemon sauce.  Her meat was cooked medium so it was much more tender than mine.  Again, the taste was just okay.  I enjoyed her meat more than mine, but at $25.50, it really was overpriced for some beef grilled on a skewer.

As the night wore on, it got more and more crowded and loud.  It's definitely a neat atmosphere if you are going for a celebration.  The staff is friendly.  They serve a lot of alcohol including vodka by the inch. Speaking of drinks, another annoying thing that happened that night was the sodas.  I noticed on the menu this description:

We carry Blenheim sodas!  Ginger Ales!  Cheerwine, the ladies' afternoon delight.  Our sodas     are: scary; extra strength; and drop dead!     

I'd never had russian soda and the description piqued my interest.  We asked the waiter about them and he said they had a spicy soda, ginger soda, pomegranate soda, and some others.  So we ordered a pomegranate soda.  He gave us a bottle of Izzie!  For those of you who don't know, this is a pomegranate flavored fizzy drink that can be found at a lot of supermarkets.  And I'm pretty sure it isn't Russian. They charged $4.75 for this.  I found this to be extremely disappointing and misleading.

This visit was a bit disappointing.  However, I had fun on my previous experience, so I guess I have mixed feelings about this place.  Though I guess if you are craving Russian food, this is probably the most authentic place in San Diego.  But remember to bring cash and lots of it!

Pomegranate Russian Georgian on Urbanspoon

8 comments on “Pomegranate Russian-Georgian Restaurant”

    Owned by Pepsi, founded in Colorado 🙂

  2. Thanks for the info. I wish they had specified that is what they meant by pomegranate soda. It was a bit deceiving, I think, to list it with the supposedly Russian sodas.

  3. The food IS delicious, and it used to be my favorite restaurant in town until I started working there and really got a taste of the seedy underbelly of Pomegranate.
    Mark( the old man you will find sitting in the corner who is a partner in the buisness), simply put, is the spawn of SATAN and truly, deeply hates women! He acts nice to you when you are giving him your money! But ladies, when you turn away he says dirty and disgusting things about you in Russian. He uses all his girlfriends, talks down to women like they are dogs, and takes advantage of immigrant women working in the kitchen.
    He pays the workers BELOW MINIMUM WAGE, does not give them the option to legally file wages with proper tax forms, or to have adequate brakes. Some people work in the kitchen for 12 hours straight and he makes one person hustle alone serving the front during most weekdays. On top of it all, HE STEALS the majority of the tips from his waitresses!
    I got fired after telling him that he had no right doing these things to people and that I would not allow him to treat me like that!!!! He said what are you going to do? you are just a stupid woman!
    This man doesn’t have an ounce of humanity in him or respect for anyone, not even his closest friends! Yes, he lies and steals even from John and Tracy who are grilling out back and are his best friends! I am still in shock about the evil that resides in that place and I continue to have nightmares almost every night about Pomegranate.
    Nothing hurts me more than the fact that all the amazing people who make that place happen and cook wonderful food are being treated like dirt every single day! I am not sure what to do about it, but the fact that the nightmares still haunt me is a sign that its my place to do something about what is happening.
    I have not gone to the IRS because they would shut the whole place down. Some of the people who work there don’t speak English and wouldn’t have work otherwise. Its hard to say how long this place will stay open when that kind of injustice is taking place. For a small hole in the wall restaurant, Pomegranate violates every human right possible!
    So… if you decide to go there, I recommend that you spit in the old man’s face and make sure you personally tip your waitress! Always ask for change and give the tips to the person who served you… otherwise the money will be counted by the jerk at the counter, and less than a third of it will make it into the hands of the people who are sweating blood making and serving your food!

  4. Pingback: Pomegranate Russian-Georgian Restaurant | Online REL

  5. After reading about the man ‘on the throne’ it’s not a place I’ll be going.

    I’ll find another Russian food place!

    Thanks for the headsup.

    • I actually had great food experiences here previously, though not on this visit and I haven’t been back so I don’t know if it’s gotten better or worse. The man on the throne thing I didn’t really view as a bad thing. It was different but interesting.

  6. Hi there! I just moved to SD from Atlanta with my bf and discovered your blog – I love all your great reviews! 🙂 I just wanted to chip in and say that Blenheim is a brand of ginger ales made in South Carolina. Up until recently, you could only find them in a few counties in South Carolina and Georgia. They are known for being pretty spicy (especially compared to your regular store brand ginger ales), and they even have two levels of hotness (gold for regular, pink for hot – but I still think both are pretty spicy on the lips, haha). They’re really good so if you get a chance to try them, I definitely recommend them. 🙂 Anyways..keep up the good work! Thanks for all the great reviews!

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