· Stroganovsky Dvor
This restaurant is a combination of traditional food, new trends, and some concepts that haven’t quite become trends yet, like inter-table telephoning, for example. Don’t be confused when you walk into the courtyard of the Stroganov Palace—past the entrance to the Chocolate Museum. That large, heated tent filled with statuary that looks like something out of your last bar mitzvah is, in fact, the café; the location is also a hotspot at night.
If the word “Stroganov” is ringing some bells, you’re correct: they’re the ones who gave Russia and then the world beef Stroganoff.
· Caviar Bar
For this traditional treat, we recommend heading to the Caviar Bar at the Grand Hotel Europe. They’re in possession of the family’s own recipe, a closely-guarded gift from the youngest generation, who are frequent guests at the hotel. The Caviar Bar is also, naturally, in possession of huge quantities of top-notch caviar, and if you’re a fan, make sure to try the sturgeon from whence they came—the delicious fish is not available in the United States.
They’ve also recently begun training a vodka sommelier, to help pair their extensive list of vodkas with your various courses.
· Russian Vodka Room No. 1
To begin our own vodka education, we lunched at the *Russian Vodka Room No. 1*, which is also home to the Vodka Museum, tracing the history of the drink in the country. We attempted a trio of shots, and discovered two things the hard way: honey vodka is often also flavored with hot peppers, in case you’re looking for something sweetened, and that curl of white substance on black bread is not some kind of smoked whitefish, it’s lard. That said, the excellent blinis and hot borscht more than assuaged our terrified stomachs, and we happily walked off the heavy stuff seeing all the city has to offer.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's final report from our St. Petersburg Field Trip - Kate Winick