The force behind Portland’s beloved Russian/Belarusian/Georgian restaurant Kachka, chef Bonnie Frumkin Morales, is headed to San Francisco in January to cook her first meals here: Two dinners at Duna with chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns. Kachka was on Eater’s National list of the 38 Essential Restaurants once again this year, and just released its cookbook Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking, which Morales is on the road promoting.
The dinners, on Sunday, January 7th, and Monday, January 8th, are a match made in restaurant heaven, as the Hungarian-inspired Duna shares a clear kinship with Kachka. Like Kachka, which opened in 2014, Duna is a new-school restaurant embracing traditional Eastern European preparations and ingredients like potatoes, beets, and cabbage.
"Not only do I love Nick and Cortney’s process as chefs, but what they are doing at Duna also happens to hit close to home geographically to what we do at Kachka,” says Morales. “The combo makes this dinner one I am particularly excited about. “
Tickets for the collaboration meals are on Tock for $65 per person. A $38 beverage pairing is available featuring kvass on tap and sochu infusions inspired by Kachka — sadly, Duna lacks the full liquor license necessary to reenact Kachka’s popular infused vodkas. On the pop-up menu, expect well-known Kachka dishes like “Herring Under a Fur Coat” and “Rabbit in a Clay Pot.”
Morale’s book, which features recipes for those dishes and many more, was published in November. “It’s one of the best, most genuine and inspiring books we have seen,” says Duna chef Balla. It’s also one of the only of its kind, as Morales explained to Eater Portland.
“There hasn't been a Russian cookbook published by a major U.S. publisher in nearly 30 years,” she said, lamenting that “the cuisine and culture are deeply underrepresented and misunderstood.I am excited to share with people what the food I grew up eating means to me and hope that it encourages more curiosity and interest in Russian cooking.”
Take a peek inside the book here.