Though coveting thy neighbor's wife or underground sprinkler system is beyond the pale, longing for a mouthful of his cuisine is an understandable desire. Today's Groupon satisfies desires to eat from the table of our nation's trans-Pacific neighbors: for $20, you get $40 worth of Russian fare and drinks at Russia House Restaurant and Lounge, a dinner-only eatery in Dupont Circle.
An editors’ pick in the Washington Post, Russia House pleases with its lively atmosphere, authentic dishes, and impressive vodka list. Behind the facade’s wooden doors lies a wormhole straight through to the other side of the globe, creating a scene unlike any other. In his review, Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post says, “Unpredictable crowds can make Russia House feel like one of the exotic dens from a vintage James Bond paperback.”
Dinner offerings are kept to a stoically regimented minimum and consist of simple soups and salads, small and large plates, and desserts. Small plates include dishes such as duck rillette (slow-cooked duck leg atop an arugula and red-onion salad on goat-cheese potato puree with a balsamic duck glace, $12) or the perennial favorite, pierogis (Russian baked dumpling stuffed with potato, applewood bacon, caramelized onion, and smoked duck breast, $12). The larger and, by definition, more-filling plates range from the familiar chicken kiev (butter-chive-stuffed chicken breast served with mashed potatoes, sautéed carrots, and squash, $23) to the authentic zapechionaya baranina (roasted lamb rack served with a black bread pudding, braised chard, red pepper, and a rosemary-shallot sauce, $30). There are also caviar selections such as Golden Osetra ($175), American sturgeon ($55), and top-of-the-line beluga ($285). Finish up your food with one of the rotating dessert selections ($8).
A trip to Russia House would be incomplete without sampling some of the impressively obscure vodkas, beers, and wines from around, and 500 yards within, the world. Non-run-of-the-mill beverages include pepper-garlic vodka, Baltika Golden Lager, and blood-orange vodka. Strap on your international-espionage shoes, be sure that you’re not being followed, and use the information coded in today’s Groupon transmission to get your borscht on.
Not valid for lounge service.
Russia House was an editors' pick in the Washington Post:
- Unpredictable crowds can make Russia House feel like one of the exotic dens from a vintage James Bond paperback. Sumptuously decorated for an oligarch, it certainly has the right look: red silk damask on the walls, flickering chandeliers, blocks of richly veined dark green marble set into the woodwork and used as accents above the bar. – Fritz Hahn, Washington Post
Three Citysearchers give the restaurant an average of 4.5 stars, and more than 150 Yelpers rate it an average of four stars. More than 140 OpenTable reviewers give the restaurant an average of 3.9 stars, and 88 percent of more than 40 Urbanspooners like it:
- The ambience and decor are in coherence with an old 18th century Russian house. The food is exquisite - Nuevo Russian cuisine. The staff is very acoomodating [sic] and the venue is very intimate and homely. – aschooler, Citysearch
- The food is delicious Russian, but not the same old boring list you get at the usual Russian restaurants. The Vodka list is amazing. There are some great Eastern European beers. And the staff and service is always right on. – OpenTable user who dined on 07/02/2010
Though they hail from different corners of the world, business partners Aaron McGovern and Arturas Vorobjovas and their shared passion for food begat Russia House, a tribute to the czarist-era dinner table. Raised in Lithuania on his father’s traditional Russian recipes, Arturas works with executive chef Andrew LaPorta to pack Russia House’s bill of fare with authentic offerings such as line-caught sturgeon, plump pelmini dumplings, and a selection of caviar. These rich Russian staples grace white tablecloths and elegant place settings inside Russia House's stately interior. Here, mirrors reflect light that bursts through large windows to reveal which guests have packed their cheeks with leftovers. In the upstairs lounges, plush booths cradle diners and occasional live piano music permeates the airwaves.