The headless statue of Stalin outside the restaurant notwithstanding, Red Square doesn’t actually serve Russian cuisine. Its menu is made up of American cuisine with Russian ideas, and hey, that’s pretty fun. Like a starter of “Siberian Nachos” that pairs smoked salmon, wasabi cream, and fish roe on top of fried wonton chips, or short rib dumplings, a nod to pelmeni, served with horseradish sour cream. The caviar service is of fine domestic varieties (that happily won’t break the bank), with proper accompaniments of egg whites, shallots, and crème fraîche, to be piled extravagantly on blini or toast points. There are also dishes of Russian extraction, like beef Stroganoff and chicken Kiev, and they’re tasty but not all that authentic. The Kiev, for example, is a roulade of the chicken that’s crusted on the outside, but lacks the best part of a true Kiev, which is cutting into it to let the melted butter spill out. This all may seem beside the point if you decide to go full fantasy here, donning a (loaner) fur coat and Cossack’s hat to dine in the vodka locker, an icy chamber near the front of the bar where one can drink vodka, and shiver at the same time—like they do in the old country.
- Grace Bascos