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Russia House, Clubby Russian Restaurant in North Dupont Circle


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We went to the Russia House for the first time last night after a great deal of urging from some hard-drinking friends. We had Jonny Miles (of Shaken and Stirred) in tow, as he was in town reading from his new novel, DEAR AMERICAN AIRLINES. (Aside: the book is lovely, like his columns and sports writing.) We urged him to cross the river for some Todd Thrasher treats from the bar at Eve, but driving felt too complicated, so we stayed in Dupont.

The main lounge at the Russia House was open last night when we rolled in after steak and chicken at Bistrot du Coin, which was reliable. The heavy red curtains and velvet appointments make the place cozy. Some lovely, high-kitsch artwork amused as more and more and the evening wore on. The drink menu is vodka, vodka, more vodka, cocktails made with vodka, infused vodkas, and some Russian and former former-Soviet Union beer and wine. We stuck to vodka, and first focused on the house-made infusions in three flavors: horseradish, strawberry, and pineapple-orange-mango. All were impressive in flavor, and the citrus blend was downright delish. We also ordered several plain vodkas, served on the rocks. The flavors ranged from "Christmas in you mouth" to "a new bag of those rubber fishing worms," both of which were remarkably tasty. We allowed the expert to pick for us, but we could not pass the Bogarduskya, which coincidentally bore the family name of one in the group. (Did it really taste like "the sweat of broken Norwegian dreams"?)

The portions were large, served in tumblers, the service was prompt and friendly, and last call came gently at 1 a.m. The drinking crowd was very good for people-watching.

Maybe we'll eat a little from the small plates offered in the bar next time. Highly recommend an evening here (even if, like me, you don't usually drink vodka).

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The food at RH has as much resemblance to a true Russian fare as average American Tex-Mex to true Mexican cooking. Good, yes, authentically Russian, nyet.

All I can say is I love the drinks and the sofas......but I can not for the life of me remember what the food tastes like. I blame the vodka.

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Has anyone been here since the building went up for sale? I'm curious if it diminishes the current experience at all that there is a for-sale sign on the front and the restaurant is planning a move to a new location.

 

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46 minutes ago, ad.mich said:

Agreed. There's always been a real Je Ne Sais WTF about the place. Not sure it would be the same if you weren't totally sure it wasn't a house of horror.

This is one of the best, funniest, and most accurate short-form posts I've read here in quite awhile!

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On 6/19/2008 at 5:58 PM, jigones said:

All I can say is I love the drinks and the sofas......but I can not for the life of me remember what the food tastes like. I blame the vodka.

If you can remember what the food tastes like, it was not an authentically Russian experience...

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