The decor is contemporary and overpoweringly red: red leather booths, cherry wood walls,
red curtains, and giant flat screen TVs playing Russian pop music videos. The menu, though, is full of classics. So the three-month old Russia House restaurant has it all: the feel of modern-day St. Petersburg and the warmth you'd find in your babushka's kitchen. People chatter in both Russian and English at the full-length bar -- which serves 86 kinds of vodka.
David and Sofia Shifrin formerly owned Lula Kebab in Sunny Isles, which served Georgian and Mediterranean food. The couple is from Belarus, but has been living in the U.S. for 30 years and working in the restaurant business for 13.
"Boca and this whole zip code have no Russian restaurants," says David. He saw opportunity: Boca Raton has the fourth-largest Russian population in South Florida.
When David's wife and kitchen supervisor, Sofia, came up with the menu
for Russia House, she wanted everything made homestyle Russian.
The menu's soups are $7, and salads run from $9 to $18. Starters
include items like meat or seafood blini, caviar, and assorted meat
platters ranging from $10 to $25. Main entrees and shish kebabs (Classic
Mediterranean dishes, but popular in Russia) range from $15 to $36.
Meat stuffed (Pelmeni) and cherry filled (vareniki) dumplings are
classic items that don't appear on the menu, but are available daily.
Classic borscht beet soup ($7)
is garnished with dill and served with a side of sour cream. We also tried
the Chicken Tabaka ($21), butterflied Cornish hen with a side of golden
roasted and buttered potatoes. It's basically your crispy chicken and
fries without the grease and instant food coma afterward.
Of the four chefs cooking in Russia House, three are Russian and one is
Georgian. They import spices to be used in the broths and use naturally-made cranberry
juices to give their dishes that authentic touch.
The full vodka bar is stacked with 86 vodkas and specialty cocktails
($13) like the Beluga Passion Fruit Martini, made of Beluga vodka,
fruit puree and a drop of fruit "caviar" at the bottom that bursts in
On Thursday through Sunday nights, there's live Russian music and dancing. In warmer months, the
bar opens up into the outdoor patio area that's open year round.
The restaurant is open daily from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
and closed on Mondays.
-- By Regina Kaza