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Olivier Salad: Traditional Russian salad with smoked chicken, quail eggs, potato, crawfish tails and osetra caviar.
Profiterole with vanilla ice cream: Puff pastry, praline-coriander ganache and chocolate-lime sauce.
We love Tchaikovsky and Chekhov, but Russian food? It's hard to get excited about boiled potatoes and pickled cabbage.
To our surprise, an extravagant establishment in midtown has us craving borscht and blintzes. Owned and operated by restaurateur Andrey Dellos (the Danny Meyer of Moscow), Brasserie Pushkin takes cues from its famous cousin, Café Pushkin, with dressed up pre-revolutionary cuisine plus 22 varieties of vodka.
The three-tiered space exudes old-world opulence with Murano chandeliers, 18th-century-style paintings and granite tables, but it has a hipper vibe than its Imperial neighbor up the street, the Russian Tea Room.
Expect classic Slavic fare--beef Stroganoff ($30), veal blintzes ($21) and salmon-roe blinis--with modern influences: the vegetarian borscht ($18) has crisp, sliced beets and a touch of crème frâiche; chicken Kiev is served atop Caesar salad ($16); and crouton-crusted veal cutlets make up the restaurant's signature "Pojarksy" burger ($28).
Begin with the Pelmeni ($12), a mix of rich pork, beef and lamb dumplings, then order the Sterlet ($46), a cod-like fish served whole with mashed potatoes. For dessert, try the hot chocolate ($6) that's made tableside and tastes like a melted candy bar.
It's enough to make anyone long for Mother Russia.
Brasserie Pushkin, 41 W. 57th Street (between Fifth and Sixth aves.); 212-465-2400 or brasseriepushkin.com
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