Rassolnik is a Russian beef-and-barley soup, bolstered by the likes of potato, carrot, and onion, whose other notable ingredient is pickled cucumber. The sliced pickles are cooked with the soup, not simply added as a garnish, so that the brine ("rassol") adds a distinctive sour flavor. Though the meat may be beef or pork kidneys, or chicken, the choice of pickle — in various recipes applied to various cucumbers, and occasionally to watermelon, cherry, or other fruit — provides the baseline for many rassolnik riffs.
Above the main floor of this expansive market and past a confectionary counter is a small café; though inelegant, it usually offers open seats, as does the connected, covered patio. Baked goods, such as the filled pastries called piroshki, can be enjoyed in the smaller seating area downstairs; the pirozhok below (about $1) featured meat of some sort (my old notes don't tell more). Also: Monastirsky brand kvas (0.5 l.; 99 cents), from Russia, is a carbonated, nonalcoholic beverage fermented from rye, wheat, barley, or in this instance some unspecified combo.
M&I International Foods
249 Brighton Beach Ave. (Brighton 1st Pl.-Brighton 2nd St.), Brighton Beach, Brooklyn