Friday, February 26, 2016

Russia House - Review

Drawing by Tony Ma ... Not that I would've sprung for dessert at Russia House ;)
Russia House in Herndon (not to be confused with a restaurant with the same name in NW D.C.) has all the ambitions of an upscale restaurant but falls disappointingly short of these motivations. I dined there on the busiest Hallmark holiday of the year, and so was not expecting top-notch quality or service from Russia House's kitchen, but equally was not looking to pay top dollar for something not worthy of being found in a convenience store's frozen food section. They had a prixe fixe menu of microwave-ready entrees AND DOUBLED the price of these entrees.

When my chicken kiev arrived at my table within 10 minutes of ordering (I'm telling you: it came from a microwave), I asked my dining companion, "Is that chicken ...?" Then: "This tastes like a TV dinner." The chicken -- shaped unnaturally in a rectangular block with rounded-off edges -- sat atop a bed of forgettable rice, and a heap of sad roasted vegetables. The chicken itself tasted processed and its texture reminded me of a chicken McNugget -- a $55 chicken McNugget but of inferior quality.

My dining companion, after some Googling, selected the beef stroganoff. Upon taking a first taste of his entree, I told him, "This tastes like it came from a can." Him?: "This tastes like something my mom made me as a kid."

On the upside, the (free) rolls are excellent, and boy does the staff keep them coming! The hefty rolls are dense and land on your bread plate with a satisfying "thud." I definitely was more interested in the bread than the "chicken."

Good luck flagging down the waitress if you accidentally drop your fork on the ground and need a replacement. It was a one-woman operation that night for a full house; the owner wore the hats of hostess, waitress, and bartender. To her credit, she was very polite and friendly. After all, the restaurant had doubled its prices that night, so I'm sure she was raking it in. And the young, spry staffers are quick with the water refills and handing out those aforementioned rolls, though those seemed to be their only responsibilities that night.

After receiving the check, I asked my dining companion if he wanted to get a snack afterwards because I was still hungry (I'd hardly touched my food). But he'd mopped his plate clean with the rolls: "If I'm paying $65 for this, I'm eating it all!"

Upon hearing the owner greet a guest with an enthusiastic, "Welcome back!" my dining companion and I looked at each other and said, "They have regulars?!"

The must only come for the rolls.

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