Nadezhda Russian Restaurant, Arab Street
I haven't had Russian food since Kalinka Malinka shut down (and no, Shashlik does not count!). But I had heard about this place (140 Arab Street, 6396-3445), and wanted to come by for a while. And fortunately for me, they were open until 11 PM, which was needed considering the late run at the office I had tonight.
Now, I don't really know Russian food that well. And that was evident when I randomly ordered a cold beef soup called okroshka. It looked great when it arrived, but when I took a sip, I wondered to myself, "Why does this taste like flat beer??" (college flashbacks!) Only when I tried to find out more about this stuff did I realize that it was based on something called kvass, which is kinda like beer but with very little alcohol. I have to admit that it wasn't one of my favorites, especially considering all the dill weed in there too. It must be an acquired taste or something.
I did get a plate of beef stroganoff though, and I liked it better. It came on a bed of buckwheat, which was new to me, and was done nicely enough for me to shovel it down my throat very quickly. The blinchiki beef pancakes, which came out piping hot, went well with the sour cream on the side, as did the tiny little pelmeni dumplings.
But in the end, I couldn't get as excited about these as I did at Kalinka Malinka. Then again, I really don't know Russian food very well, and I don't think I've developed a taste for Russian food either (not being a big fan of beets doesn't exactly help that). Even if I didn't get that inspired by my selections tonight, I was really impressed with the meticulous workmanship in the food here, which suggested to me that there must be something lurking on the menu that I'd really like. Perhaps one of these days I'll be able to do a better job of picking something more appealing to me.