Much of Russian Pub's menu is, as promised, based on traditional cuisine, but it has a certain quality that makes it just … better. The buterbrodi, a kind of Russian bruschetta, are slices of crusty brown bread that everyone in our group raved about, topped with fragrant grilled vegetables; there is also miraculously un-fishy herring and spiced, thinly shaved prime beef carpaccio. Other standout appetizers include beet salad, with magenta dressing that is as beautiful as it is delicious, and wasabi shrimp, a creamy, comforting dish that continues to come up in conversation.
By the time mains rolled around, we'd already been spoiled with delicious food. But we saved room for the stewed lamb and vegetables that arrive in a personal-sized cast iron skillet, and the dreamy pomegranate-glazed grilled salmon. For the vegetarians there was buckwheat with vegetables, which was comparatively underwhelming. Nevertheless, the general feeling was one of reverence. And, stuffed as we were, there was no resisting dessert: syrupy plum baba and cloud-like pavlova. All in all, the pub unveils its homeland's cuisine anew: contemporary, balanced, and scrumptious.