Monday, September 28, 2009

Moscow on the Hill – St. Paul, MN

I have had Moscow on the Hill on my list of places to eat since I moved to the Twin Cities. Callous-gave the ok on the vegetarian offerings on the menu (I don’t know why she even asked – I guaranteed they had beets). We called ahead to see if we needed reservations and the person on the phone told me there was a good chance you’d get in without a reservation. Which we did.

They seated us on the patio, and like thoughtful Minnesotans (or Russians, for that matter), they provided blankets to people sitting on the patio in case the fall air got too cold for people. Very cool. You can’t see the patio from the street, but it’s a very quaint and fun patio with (cough…) German (…cough) beer umbrellas on the tables. Much larger than I expected from the front of the building. And there was a strolling accordion minstrel walking about..

It’s an odd set up, but they have multiple people helping out each table. There’s a bar guy that comes out first to offer you cocktails. Then a water girl brings you water, and then the waitress/waiter shows up to discuss food options with you. Not overbearing at all and kind of maid you feel a bit pampered. Nice touch.

One of the reasons I had heard about this place and wanted to go here was because they have hundreds of bottles of vodka. They offer 5 or 6 different varieties of vodka flights as well. We decided on the Flavored Vodka Flight which was six shots of vodkas from around the world with different flavors infused.
We got, in order of MY personal favorites:
  • Honey (Old Krupnik – Poland)
  • Cucumber (Square One – America)
  • Raspberry (Citadelle – France)
  • Chocolate (Three Olives – England)
  • Bison grass (Zubrowska – Poland)
  • Ruby red grapefruit (Absolut – Sweden)

We tried to intersperse these throughout the meal so we didn’t get too terribly loaded. Every time we’d take a shot, Callous-un would shout some toast in a random language (either this girl drinks a LOT or she’s an international traveler). But on the final one, she couldn’t think of one, so I shouted out “To Boobies” and before she could offer a rebuttal, I threw the shot down the hatch. No takebacks.

I ordered the Fried Chebureki Pastries, Georgian lamb pastries deep fried, served with rice and sautéed vegetables and this amazing tomato-cilantro-garlic-parsley dipping sauce. It was amazing. The pastries were light and fluffy and the lamb was tasty without being too meaty for the rest of the dish. The rice was kind of plain, but the vegetables were crispy cooked and but still tender and chewable. Fantastic dish.

Callous-un got the Vareniki – Ukrainian dumplings stuffed with some sort of potato filling. I managed to finagle a couple of these dumplings and they were pretty good. More flavor than I expected form a potato-based dumpling without any sort of tasty flesh inside. The dumplings were a bit rubbery for my taste, but I’m not an expert in Ukrainian cooking, so they may have been perfect. The flavor was good and that’s mostly what I care about. We both definitely got full on our meals.

Callous-un had tried some Fig Vodka in Chicago and began firing questions at the waitress about if they had any available. The waitresses headed to the bar three or four times getting Callous-un’s questions answered, but didn’t seem at all annoyed by the interaction. The waitress was very helpful and gracious and described the bottle and label to us so we could try to track it down on our own.

This was a fantastic meal. I’m looking forward to going back here again, and I’ve already recommended it to four or five people!

Top 5 things about Moscow on the Hill
1. Having a classy dinner with Callous-un and laughing like idiots (mostly about what an idiot I am, oddly)
2. Fried Chebureki Pastries
3. Flavored Vodka Flight
4. Super service at this place
5. Vareniki

Bottom 5 things
1. Dealing with nasty text messages from friends who hate St. Paul when they found out I was there
2. I don’t know what Bison Grass is, but I hope I don’t eat/drink it again
3. Because I tricked Callous-un into toasting boobies, I got tricked into toasting penis-es at the next night dinner. Rude
4. Coach is going to yell at me for not trying Chicken Kiev or Borscht and ordering food from non-Russia
5. They had no Fig Vodka


Ruby said...


Vanessa said...

So the honey was actually good and not cough-syrupy? Hmmm. I am intrigued.

Chao said...

Yes, the honey vodka was NOT medicinal at all. I wasn't looking forward to it, but it ended up being amazing. So now I'm thinking if I DO get a cough, maybe I should treat it with honey vodka. Fantastic idea, Vanessa!

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