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 authentic Russian cuisine at Russia House in Dupont Circle.
At Russia House, offerings are kept to a delicious, yet stoically regimented minimum, offset by a friendly staff and a cozy and inviting interior. Small plates include dishes such as duck rillette, slow-cooked duck leg atop frisse salad on house-cured ham and truffle poached egg ($14), and the perennial favorite, pelmini, featuring veal- and pork-filled pasta pillows with a marsala-mushroom cream ($13). The larger and, by definition, more filling plates range from familiar chicken kiev—butter-tarragon-stuffed chicken breast served with whipped potatoes and seasonal veggies ($26), to the authentic zapechionaya baranina, or roasted lamb rack served with green olive and tomato ragout and lamb and goat cheese pelminis ($33). Russia House also boasts an awe-inspiring caviar selection, which includes colorful salty roe from Royal Osetra ($195), Royal Siberian ($165), and Alberta President ($135)—all served with buckwheat blini pancakes, chopped onion, egg, and crème fraîche. Finish your meal with one of its rotating dessert selections, such as chocolate-mousse cake or vanilla-bean crème brûlée ($8).
A trip to Russia House would be incomplete without sampling some of the impressively obscure vodkas, beers, and wines sourced from around the eight corners of the globe. Surprise your mouth or an unworldly food tester with selective sips of bitter-pepper or blood-orange vodka, Baltika golden lager, or Georgian icewine.