We Eat Everything at Piroshky Piroshky in Seattle, Part I: Savory

[Photographs: Cameron Kane]

Pike Place Market in Seattle is best known for its salmon-tossing fish mongers, but there are also some great hole-in-the-wall spots for tasty eats on the cheap. Among these, Piroshky Piroshky is a staple. The purveyor of Russian piroshki—individually-sized pies with sweet or savory fillings, wrapped in dough and baked—always has a line out the door.

Employees bustle behind the piroshki-packed counter, rolling out different doughs, stuffing pies, and folding each into a distinctive shape, depending on the filling. The smoked mozzarella, mushroom, and broccoli is a buttery oblong pastry; the cheese and garlic roll is a spiral of yeast dough; and beef and onion is a rectangle of puff pastry.

As you may have noticed, I'm focused on the savory pies. There are 14 in all, an embarrassment of riches, and I decided to try them all. Even in the pouring rain, the line snaked out the door, around a corner, and under a protective roof on the day I visited. Seating in the shoebox-sized shop is cramped—a tiny counter—so I opted for take-out.

I learned a lot that day. The first thing I learned is that getting friends together for a piroshki tasting is an uphill battle if it's raining and there's a Seahawks football game on. With one stalwart friend, though, I soldiered on. Here are our takeaways: meat fillings seem to have a more complex and dimensional flavor than vegetable-only fillings. Mozzarella is more a filler than a flavor. And cheddar cheese is always a good idea.

Check out the slideshow for a full account of our journey and stay tuned: our report on the sweet piroshki will be up tomorrow!