Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Russia-tei, Nihonbashi (ろしあ亭)

Shock and surprise filled my mind when I figured out that this was a Russian restaurant. It's a branch of a place in Jimbocho, but who looks for Russian restaurants? Russians, I suppose. Incidentally, the only Russian I currently know in Tokyo strongly recommends this place in Shinjuku as tasting just like Mom used to make (and do try the flavored vodkas).

Well, it takes all types, and I bet everything here is really authentic since the staff are, wait. The only Russian-ness on the staff was, I suspect, the waiter. I think he was half-Russian based on his face and horrible body odor.

I'm going elaborate in excruciating detail on each of the courses in this 5-part extravaganza. This is the cabbage salad; I think there was cumin or something in it; definitely more interesting than it looks.

As was the bread; the one on the left doughy and soft, the one on the right containing some actual wheat and being a bit dense and chewy. Good one.

No meal could be complete without borscht. I think of borscht as thicker and more purple; this was thin and very cabbage-based. But good, in a perpetually-scared-of-staining-your-shirt sort of way.

Likewise the Beef Stroganoff (clarified to be 'Standard Stroganoff' on the menu) was lighter and less robust than I expected. Perhaps what we get in America isn't the pre-revolution cooking that the cook here says he aspires to.

And now, for the 5th course, I'd like to present the dessert plate - a lovingly-molded, pre-scooped and re-frozen ball of vanilla ice cream. I wanted to eat this in one bite to demonstrate my contempt, but it's a good thing I didn't try. It was too big for a mouthful, and so cold my teeth would have shattered.

I don't mean to belittle Russians for their bathing habits. Americans definitely have a stereotype that Europeans, especially Eastern Europeans, don't bathe as much as we do. I apologize if I offended anyone with that remark. You big stinkers.

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