The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Brighton Beach Revisited: Cafe Glechik and That Damn Tasty Carrot Cake

Denny's Ice Cream Shop
At Coney Island.

After watching the great yearly American face-stuffing tradition that is Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4th at Coney Island, I met up with Veronica and her sister Kelly for a leisurely stroll down the boardwalk, culminating in some fooding in Brighton Beach. Having failed to do any research, I led us to two places I had already been to. Not that there's anything wrong with that since they're both awesome.

assorted pickles

First stop: Russian-Ukrainian restaurant Cafe Glechik. First dish: assorted pickles. My favorite is the watermelon, whose texture becomes more substantial through the magic of vinegar-and-other-stuff infusion and whose flavor becomes saturated in sweet and sour goodness while still retaining a hint of watermelon-ness. The platter also has pickled cukes and pickles tomatoes.

cold beet soup

Next was a super refreshing cold borscht. It's not a soup I would usually choose, but that's probably because I haven't had this version before. Unlike other borscht I've had, this one was creamy and featured lots of chopped up bits of...stuff. Beets, onions, dill, celery, and maybe apple (there was something sweet in it).

Vareniki with Cabbage Pelmeni Siberian
Lil' dumplings!!!

I can't imagine going to Cafe Glechik without ordering some of their delicate, bite-sized, wonton-like dumplings, vareneki and pemleni. We tried the vareniki with cabbage and the pelmeni Siberian, which I think is a mixture of veal and chicken. Whatever it was, the pelmeni burst with juicy and meaty multi-species goodness. The slightly sweet cabbage vareniki were fine too as a complement to the meat dumplings, but if I could only pick one, I'd go for the meat. Everything was made better with a slathering of complimentary sour cream.


For dessert, we went to M & I International Food, home of the infamous best carrot cake ever. With the intention of getting a piece the same size as last year's, I confidently pointed to a plastic container behind the counter and asked, "Could I have a piece that will fill that container?" The entire remaining cake slab ended up being just the right size for the container. It wasn't until I got a closer look at the cake and felt its heft that I realized it was about three times larger than the last one. Ooooops.

carrot cake innards
Innards. Ish.

Veronica, Kelly, and I picked away at the crispy-topped craggly cake slab stuffed with shredded carrot, raisins, walnuts, chunks of dried pineapple, and then some, along with moist golden cake matter. We didn't get very far. I ended up donating the rest to Kathy and her boyfriend when we met up later that night for gelato. I can always count on her to eat my leftover pastries (although, to be fair, her boyfriend ate most of it).

Another cake!
And there was this.

We also tried a slice of this cake made of three walnut-studded, slightly chewy meringue-esque layers held together with custard. Interesting. Better than not bad, although not necessarily I'd want to eat again.

Brighton Beach, Part 1: Dumplings and Vodka
Brighton Beach and Beyond, Part 2: Carrot Cake, Durian, and Pupusas
Brighton Beach Photo Shoot, Cafe Kashkar, and a Few Sweets


Cafe Glechik
3159 Coney Island Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235

M & I International Food
249 Brighton Beach Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235


kim / August 16, 2009 9:57 PM

The carrot cake looks very different from ones from the bakery. It doesn't 'look' appeticing, but it seems like many people really enjoy it. Can't judge a book by its cover, right? :) Too bad Brighton Beach is so far from where I'm from.

bionicgrrrl / August 16, 2009 10:32 PM

I only got a small slice of carrot cake my first time cuz I was worried I wouldn't like it, but later I totally regretted it. Seriously, we need a M&I in Manhattan.

Laurene / August 17, 2009 1:30 AM

Thank God you went back for the carrot cake!!!! I have been dreaming of this for over a year. Now, the really important question: did you ask for the recipe or how they make it??

SuperChomp / August 17, 2009 6:09 AM

Wow, that borscht is unusual. I always find I'm vaguely disappointed by any beetroot that isn't pickled though... I LOVE pickled things.

roboppy / August 17, 2009 11:22 AM

kim: Yup, it definitely tastes better than it looks. It doesn't need to look pretty when it tastes SO AWESOME.

bionicgrrrl: Specifically, WE NEED THE CARROT CAKE IN MANHATTAN!! :) I mean, the rest of the market is cool too. Yeah.

Laurene: Ahh you're gonna hate me..nope, I didn't ask. I bought it and then shoved it into mah face, mmm.

SuperChomp: I love pickles too! YAY PICKLES.

Laura [What I Like] / August 17, 2009 1:24 PM

I've always meant to go to Cafe you've renewed my desire! Those dumplings look pretty delightful, and as I'm going through a major pickle phase at the moment the pickle platter is really just calling out to me.

roboppy / August 18, 2009 12:51 AM


Edd: So frighteningly tasty! Too bad more places don't make it like that!

Felisa / August 19, 2009 12:19 AM

I live near M & I ....their food is really good! They have these pastry type things filled with cherry, apple, a mystery meat, and egg and onion. The fruit ones are sprinkled with powerdered sugar and its only $1! Theyre pretty big too.

veronica / August 23, 2009 8:11 AM

thanks for taking us around! i would have never have known to order that craggly brick of carrot cake. and that watermelon at cafe glechik was whoa so good, i swear there was a fizzling chemical reaction going on in my mouth!

roboppy / August 23, 2009 1:16 PM

lurquizo: Hope so..!

Felisa: Wait, that pastry has all that stuff in it? Or is that 5 different kinds? Haha. :) Ah well, shall have to try that next time; thanks for the rec!

Veronica: I miss the fizzling! We should find more fizzling pickles.

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