Firebird Russian Restaurant and Gallery, named after a recurring character in Slavic folklore, is a lighthouse of Eastern-European dining in a sea of literally hundreds of Mexican and Asian restaurants in the Sacramento area, and it is just 2.5 miles from the American River College campus.
Firebird is not cheap, but the food quality is excellent and diners will find unique and enjoyable dishes for about the same price as the entrees at a big chain pasta place.
The fare is familiar enough that even strangers to the cuisine will find something they are comfortable trying for the first time.
Golubtsi (cabbage rolls stuffed with beef and rice) and beef stroganoff are remarkably reminiscent of dishes prepared in many babushkas’ kitchens, and the fried potatoes and herbs – smothered in butter and garlic and sprinkled with fresh dill – are evidence that something very simple can be prepared in a very extraordinary way.
Those interested in a little adventure can dine on escargot and beef tongue, or eat blini (thin pancakes) with a variety of savory fillings, such as smoked salmon or red caviar. The cherry blini, served with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel, melt perfectly in the mouth.
Diners can also construct a satisfying meatless meal from beet salad or borsch; vareniki (dumplings) with farmer’s cheese; latkes (mashed-potato style); kompot, a very sweet traditional fruit drink; and apple strudel.
Everything is made fresh on the premises, and the quality is obvious in the flavor and presentation.
The restaurant itself is spacious and gently lit with a beautiful mural on the south wall and folk art juxtaposed with modern Russian sculptures and paintings for an atmosphere that is interesting and inviting. It is classy and romantic enough for date night, but semiformal and family-friendly for well-behaved children.
The lunch buffet is $10.99 (beverages are extra), and the dinner menu is available in the evenings.
Firebird Russian Restaurant and Gallery
4715 Manzanita Ave, Carmichael, CA 95608
Tuesday – Friday: 11am – 9pm
Saturday: 11am – Late Night
Sunday: 11am – 7pm
5 out of 5 stars