I have eaten here a few times, most recently just the other night, and I wanted to post some opinions on here because I think it's worth checking out.
I don't know much about Russian food, so I don't claim to be an expert, but I have enjoyed everything I have eaten here and I think the prices are pretty reasonable.
Entering the space can be a bit unnerving, because it is very dark (no windows, either), packed full of people, and a large, sort of depressed-looking man plays piano in the corner. It's not what you would expect, and it's definitely unlike any other place I've been, but I sort of like that about it. The patrons are also very lively and seem to be enjoying themselves, so that's always a good sign (of course, they could just be drunk).
Although the Russian Vodka Room has the atmosphere of a bar/lounge, I think the food really stands on it's own.
I usually start off with the house-made horseradish infused vodka, and then move on to Chopin martinis. (For those of you who like Gibsons, myself included, the restaurant doesn't have pearl onions).
I think a must here is the salmon caviar platter. It arrives fairly quickly and it's a really generous amount of food, particularly for the price. You get about ten fluffy blinis, lots of sliced hard-boiled egg, chopped red onion, capers, and a large glass pot full of gorgeous, bright-orange beads of salmon roe. Also on the plate is a small silver dish of butter above a lit tealight.
The way I eat this is I put everything on the blini (egg, onions, capers, caviar), blanket the whole thing with a small spoonfull of melted butter, fold it slightly, and eat it almost like a very small taco. And it’s incredible.
It's hard to know what to order after this, but I usually go for the herring. Oddly, I'm not a huge fan of herring, but I've always enjoyed it here. It tastes almost like it has been pan-fried, or roasetd, and it is served alongside potatoes with crispy skin, salt, and lots of dill.
Usually by this time I just give in and get a second salmon caviar platter, but other night I branched out and tried a few new dishes: cold borscht, lamb shanks, and beef stroganoff with Kasha. I enjoyed everything, found the service to be friendly, and it's sort of fun to eat amongst all the drunken chaos that inevitably develops in the small space.
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