I was at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art today, and not having any promising leads for Sunday pollo chon
, decided to stop into the newish Ukraina Deli just up the block for a late take-away lunch. Ukraina has been open just about two months, but the owner Sergio has been in the deli business, he told me, for nine years. His previous deli was on Staten Island; "life," he said, brought him to Chicago.
Ukraina caught my attention because of the bright lettering on its awning, a colorful sign of life on a stretch dominated by the cold facade of the Institute of Modern Art. The inside turned out to be equally charming, offering more warmth and personality than, say, Ann's Bakery and Deli up the street. Ukraina offers a relatively wide selection of deli meats, cheeses, bread, eastern European canned and jarred goods, candy, dairy (one of the largest selections of Kefir I've seen anywhere in Chicago) and soda.
I made note for gleam and other folks interested in unusual soda that Ukraina carries a tarragon carbonated beverage, which I know Erik M.
have discussed before. They also had other interesting-sounding varieties by the same soda-maker. Anyone know what bouratino is? I would have taken one for the team, but I was on foot and not quite in the mood to carry home liters of soda.
Most of the prepared food at Ukraina looked pretty familar to me--goulash and different salads--so I asked Sergio to pack me up a little of all of the main dishes. I then asked him what he liked most from the prepared food, and he jumped to the stuffed eggplant. My lunch ended up being pretty pork heavy, but everything was good and cheap. I got three times the amount of food pictured here for just under $10.
The highlight of my lunch was indeed the stuffed eggplant, which was dense with carrot, onion, garlic and mayo. I really enjoyed the textural contrasts and seasoning of the filling.
Next time, I'll branch out more and perhaps ask Sergio to translate some of the board menu, which I think was written entirely in Ukrainian.
2304 W Chicago Ave
Chicago IL 60622-4722