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Coffee & Tea 1

Crepes Tea Room, West Springfield MA

jzzy55 | Jan 14, 201204:00 PM

If you're driving on Interstate 91 or in the Springfield/Northampton area, you might want to check this unusual place out. It's in a rundown but not scary industrial neighborhood just off Memorial Drive on the way to the Big E.
We stopped at this modest restaurant for lunch today on the way back to Northampton from droping someone at Bradley Airport. It specializes in both teas (huge, separate menu of international teas available by the cup, large pot or SAMOVAR!) and foods from what I'd call the Former Soviet Union, plus dessert crepes and ice cream specialties.
I had the Ukrainian beef borscht (a hot dish - traditional cold Lithuanian red borscht is only served in the summer) and Siberian (beef )pelmeni with onion-mushroom sauce. The borscht was delicious -- hearty, the broth did not taste canned, delightfully NOT over-salted (I have a low tolerance for salt) and the beets were plentiful and cooked just right, neither mushy nor crunchy. Not much meat but what was in it was tasty. The soups came with the ubiquitous sour cream and a slice of brown bread I thought delicious, but my husband pronounced "floppy."
The pelmeni are tiny pirogi-like bundles. I enjoyed them but they didn't have much flavor (including the filling) without the sauce and a healthy dollop of sour cream (which is provided in abundance on the side).
My husband had Uha -- simple country fish soup with lots of dill. He liked it well enough. It came with a side of a peppery, oily sauce he chose not to sample. He also had the platter of mixed pancakes (potato, farm cheese, zucchini, squash). I enjoyed my tastes of his pancakes, finding them ungreasy and seasoned with a light hand, neither too sweet nor salty. Husband decided while eating that he is no longer a pancake eater.
Can't speak to the crepes as we didn't have any, nor dessert. The portions are large, the food substantial, and if you aren't a hearty eater you may not be able to fit in dessert if you've already had an appetizer and a main dish. If you do want dessert, consider boxing up half your entree so yo have room.
The decor is 70s finished basement -- brown, orange, gold -- nothing to speak of, but the table service is friendly and the food came quickly. I noticed our glass tea pot wasn't sparkling clean and that bothered me enough that I inspected it carefully to see if it was because the tea was cloudy or the glass was smudgy. It was the latter.
Overall I'd recommend this place to anyone who likes "Russian" food served in a low-key atmosphere at bargain prices. (Do not mistake this place for the Russian Tea Room). The menu is available on line so you can see if it appeals to you (fried cutlets are heavily represented, but can be avoided). Or, just try it for tea and dessert crepes.

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