Red and Black

Finally made it to Russia House (1800 Connecticut) armed only with hunger and no clear expectations. We ate early-ish, 6:30 p.m., and only one other couple was in the downstairs dining room when we were seated promptly upon arrival. The dark baroque-meets-Brezhnev decor contrasted with the Russian pop music, it all kind of works. Our server was great, friendly and responsive and efficient but not intrusive. I liked the food too, starting with the pierogis (Russia’s answer to the empanada!), essentially puff pastry with a veal-duck-potato-mushroom filling and a creme fraiche-and-chive sauce, light and savory and quick to disappear. More puff pastry for me for main course, this time with salmon inside, also good but nothing I couldn’t easily replicate at home. Mrs. Me got the beef stroganoff, which was very good, nicely presented, and successfully walked the line between perfectly seasoned and too salty.

Russia House isn’t cheap, and I don’t know that I would hurry back for dinner, but it would be a fun place to hang out and have drinks and share some small plates, which if the pierogis are any indication is the strongest part of the menu; almost all the small plate options look enticing to me. They have the wide array of vodkas you would expect, plus some interesting beers; I enjoyed the Lithuanian Svyturis lager, billed on the menu as a pilsner but…not a pilsner. Not clear if they had to switch temporarily or if the menu is just wrong. Didn’t matter, pretty good beer.

Then we walked all the way to the Kennedy Center to see Seinfeld, stopping at the Black Rooster (1919 L Street) for a Leinenkugel special ale, well-balanced and very good. It may have a more specific name, not sure. BR is a fun dive bar, not even really that divey.

Seinfeld (and opening act Mario Joyner) was heelarious, if you like that kind of thing, which we do. Hello, Newman!


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