23 Aug 2014 • 43 reviews • 0 follower
Had been wanting to try this place for a long time and wandered in with some friends after Sabio was packed. We sat in the dining section, not in the main bar area. This turned out to be good because there is a live band in the bar section and, while the music isn't bad, it is rather loud for dinner and there is nothing to absorb the sound. When it comes to ordering, they give you iPads for menus, but unlike the slick presentations one usually sees when someone tries to do this, they were just iPad 1s with PDFs of the menus in iBooks and the other applications removed. It would have been a lot easier just to look at a traditional menu. They have a nice, albeit very pricey, selection of vodkas, and an interesting wine list. We opted for a bottle of Georgian wine that was both inexpensive and tasty. They also have a nice cocktail selection. In terms of the food, they have many traditional Russian and Central Asian favorites, including a large selection of caviar items, as well as a few non-Russian dishes that just cause you wonder what they're doing on the menu. We ordered borshch, shchi, pelmeni dumplings (more on this later), Georgian cheese bread, shashlik (meat grilled on skewers), and eggplant. The cheese bread was okay, though there was a hair on the plate under the bread. They offered to give us a new one, but we simply changed the plate and ate the rest anyway. The soups (borshch and shchi) were okay. I liked the fact that the borshch wasn't too sweet and that the sour cream was given on the side and so could be added to taste. Next came the shashlik, which had lamb, chicken, and salmon. I wouldn't consider the latter two to be traditional. However, of the three, the chicken was the best. I think salmon is easy to overcook and thus an odd choice for grilling together with lamb and chicken, and the lamb itself was a bit tough and smelly. Next came the egplant, which was tasty and, being stuffed with other vegetables, reminiscent of a ratatouille. At that point, we'd realized that they forgot our pelmeni, so I asked the waitress to check. About ten minutes later they came out, no apology or anything for having overlooked the dish. They were presented in a small bowl like the ones that the soup comes in with a side dish of sour cream. The pelmeni were small and filled less than half the bowl, so this presentation was a bit awkward as it comes out looking like an empty bowl with a side of sour cream on a tray. The dumplings themselves were okay but not super. The meat filling lacked flavor. All in all, I wouldn't say it was a bad meal, but it was hardly a great one and I'd be a bit reluctant to go back rather than try someplace else.