Welcome back to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.

What makes a burger “Russian?” At Kouros Bay Diner, I have no idea. The Russian burger here is a “chopped prime beef cooked to perfection” topped with mozzarella cheese, bacon and Russian dressing. Sounds authentic, doesn’t it?

According to Kitchen Daily’s food encyclopedia, Russian foods are typically defined by …

  • sourness, apparent in the lavish provision of pickles; in the use of sour yeast doughs for the typical Russian breads (RYE BREADS, or rye and wheat, mostly brown or dark brown, the darkest of all being the black Borodinsky); and in KVASS, the beer-like fermented drink made from black rye bread.
  • a fundamental range of vegetables, notably CABBAGE, BEETROOT, TURNIP, and SWEDE.
  • much reliance on hearty soups, several of which (BORSHCH, SHCHI) achieved international fame.
  • little meat until the 19th century, though it is now a central part of the main meal. Many edible fungi (where available)
  • CURD CHEESE (tvorog) and SOUR CREAM (smetana); see also RUSSIAN CHEESES; ‘PICKLED’ CHEESES.
  • onion, garlic, HORSERADISH, and DILL as the basic flavorings.

I don’t see Russian dressing, mozzarella cheese or bacon on that list. Oh well.

For $10,  I was served a nice-sized burger on a seeded bun accompanied by two ice cold onion rings, a wedge of iceberg lettuce, two tomatoes and some very crispy fries, some of which ice cold, some were steaming hot. Also included were two small containers of cole slaw and Russian dressing.

I don’t have much to say about this burger. The dressing was odd and separated in the container and no amount of stirring or shaking would emulsify it. The bacon was plentiful but limp. The cheese tasteless. The burger was properly cooked to a nice medium well. It wasn’t dried out, but not overly juicy. At the first bites, it was okay and nothing special. Half-way through the burger, its taste became repulsive. It’s been a long time since I threw out half my meal, but that’s what happened here.  Fail Kouros. Fail.

Kouros Bay Diner, 3861 Nostrand Avenue, (718) 743-5777

Kouros Bay Diner on Urbanspoon

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  • guest

    It actually looks good on the pic, guess looks r deceiving:)

    • Tinman

      Mouth watered when I saw photo, but quickly dried when I read about cold fries and onion rings. Yuk!

  • Emmons Owl

    A medium well burger? Poor thing never had a chance.

  • JR

    it makes you goto one of the many russian medical offices in sheepshead bay after eating one… 

  • http://www.google.com/ F_a_b_a

    I found a burger joint relatively close to Sheepshead, Oxcart Tavern (1301 Newkirk Ave). Now I did have better burgers than at Oxcart but so far this is closest and best join I can find. Burgers are made to order, meat is actually grilled to your liking, so medium rare is just exactly that. They have different toppings and sauces so if you want more than BLT on your burger it’s a bonus as well. They serve draft beer and finding parking late in the evening is not super hard.Give this place a try Robert if you ever feel like having good burger over a pint.

    • Anonymous

      try the burger at Draft Barn.

      Along side with a KWAK.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_32KIUIOU4BY5JF7G2Q6APWTS6I Jeff

    Diners and coffee shops usually fail at burger quality.  However, my favorite burger is from the coffee shop on Ave. U just off of Flatbush Ave., across from the mall.

    • http://www.google.com/ F_a_b_a

      Dude, what’s the name of the place?

      • nolastname

        Plaza King Coffee Shop. They are pretty good. Bacon, cheese is one of the best heart attack waiting to happen burger I have had..I think it was like 6 bucks.
        Used to eat them for breakfast when I worked in that area.

    • nolastname

      When one of the delivery guy comes from there he yells “greasy’s here”. 
      They have pretty good food. Hot wings and soups a good. 
      It’s Plaza King Coffee Shop.

  • http://www.google.com/ F_a_b_a

    Also to advertiser, Top Burger (I know you will be reading this review): The girl at the counter is not super friendly. She does not have to be all Forrest Gump friendly but at very least don’t say, “What you want?” and then give a look like she is about to bite my head off.

    • Superhero

      Top BRGR is a pretty shitty burger and apparently they use fake “Kobe beef”. I tried real Kobe beef and my friends that’s not what you find in top brgr. i understand they use American Kobe beef but that’s not American Kobe beef

      • Guest

        Top Burger is overpriced and u r right the meat is definitely FAKE!! Even Burger King tastes better for much better price! How much do the owners pay the health inspector to not close their joint down??

      • http://www.google.com/ F_a_b_a

        Now, now let’s not start spreading hate just yet. Maybe with some tweaks TB can become fine establishment.
        I for one would love to see top notch burger joint on canal. I don’t mind paying $10 for burger but it has to satisfy my taste buds to the fullest extend.

    • http://www.google.com/ F_a_b_a

      posted moved down to proper reply.

    • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

      I just thought TB was tremendously overpriced, and I just didn’t like the burger to boot. Sorry, I don’t like printing negative things about establishments because I think we should encourage business here, but I just gotta report my personal experience.

  • Guest

    I know what makes this burger Russian-the russian dressing! Duh;)) But although Robert made a few mistakes about russian food – kvass is not a beer like drink since its alcohol free&tvorog is cottage cheese,he is right about burger not being part of the russian cuisine:)

    • Anonymous

      Sorry Guest – but I stand by my post. 

      Cottage cheese is a curd cheese and is available in both large and small curd in many gourmet markets. Kvass, is a beer like drink, as it made from grain – much like the Spanish malta.  In fact beer advocate describes Kvass as “Kvass is Russian for “leaven” and is a 16th century beer-like beverage made with grains – wheat, rye, barley, etc – or dark rye bread, and often has additions of sugars, birch sap, berries, fruits; the process is akin to ancient beer brewing. It’s basically a fermentation of what’s around with a simple bakers yeast. It’s low in alcohol and often flavored with herbs or fruits to knock the bitter edge out. A national drink for Russia, but also found throughout Eastern Europe.”

      • Anonymous
        • guest

          So what ukrainian brand of kvass that sold here in brooklyn stores would u recommend? Monastursky? In Netcost so many varieties Im often confused which 1 would taste the best so would appreciate a tip;) Thanx!

          • Guest

            you have to get one with yellow sticker that reads Troika, usually this one is kept in the fridge as opposed to being on the shelf, and it tastes better because it has raisins so it has a little sweetness to it while having all the other attributes of kvass. It is also a bit more expensive then brands that are sold on shelves as opposed to stored in the fridge, but in my humble opinion this brand or name is worth it. 

      • Guest

        Robert why not instead of reading about the history of the kvass,etc u  just go to Netcost supermarket and get a bottle of kvass:) Drink it,read what its made of since all the ingredients will be listed in english&then make ur own opinion how close it to beer and if there any alcohol in it.There are many varieties in the store&chances are u wont be disappointed in taste;) Its definitely not bitter nor will give u a buzz-Cheers!

  • brooklyn native

    10 dollars… Not for that.  I’ll pass. There just has to be better 
    then that in Sheepshead Bay. (i hope).

  • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

    I went out with the gf on December 27, this was the aftermath of the blizzard. Winds were enormous, drifts were waist high. Usually I call myself adventurous. That day we were just plain stupid!

       Anyway, nothing was open. We were out there, in a bit of trouble, in need of shelter after having walked about 3 miles already. THERE WAS KOUROS, OPEN.  The food never tasted better. One could say they saved our skin.

    Actually, I like the food there. It’s great. I didn’t like its predecessor, the Foursome, I think it was called.

      

    • Brooklyn Native

      Unfortunately seems it was the circumstances that made it taste so good.
      Have you been back for as good a meal yet?

  • Just me

    I know it’s far but try Shake Shack in the city, I doubt you will be going anywhere else.

    • Guest

      ohhhhhhh, Shake Shack, it is the best.
      In Brooklyn, try Five guys, although it is not in SB area. 
      Wheelers (bar in SB) used to make really good burgers, but I have not been there in a while, so can not vouch for it now. 

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