Russian Samovar may not stay open as astonishingly late as its website promises. But it stays open decently late. Which -- especially in the Theater District -- is meaningful.
Indeed, I made it over there recently when another nearby restaurant was closed when I got there, 45 minutes before their posted closing time -- even though they had personally assured me the week before that they took their posted hours seriously and intended to stay open until the posted closing time even when empty. Ha!
This was shortly after Philip Roth died, so it seemed appropriate to visit one of his haunts. My impression of Russian Samovar has always been that the infused vodkas are beyond delicious, but that the food was rather dubious. Maybe my standards are slipping (or maybe I was just hungry), but I found nothing to seriously complain about concerning the food this time.
I started with beef in aspic (very good with a dill-infused vodka). Something the bartender/son-of-the-owners said suggested they may be about to remove the aspics from the menu. That would be a horrible mistake: this was quite good. The aspic wasn't runny; the beef wasn't mushy. It was extremely flavorful.
Then, I couldn't resist a Pozharsky cutlet. This may not have been the Pozharsky of my dreams -- but it was fine. Not too greasy, a little mushy but not too. I'd have it again.
There seems to be a generational change happening here that is already benefiting the beverage program (this young guy likes his cocktails) and may ultimately benefit the food program.
In any event, this is a place I hadn't really thought about that now goes into the rotation. It's good to have a late-night place to eat in the Theater District.
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