Moscow on the Hill

The other day, one of my friends had a birthday.  As is customary, the birthday boy got to choose the activities.  What did my eccentric friend want to do?  Have dinner at Saint Paul’s Moscow on the Hill, the city’s finest, and only, Russian restaurant.  Chefs at the Moscow on the Hill restaurant prides itself on offering authentic and traditional Russian food and drink.  I thought that because I went to St. Paul’s only Russian restaurant recently, my Friday post this week would be a review of the lovely experience I had there. 

We had dinner early, with everyone arriving at the restaurant by about 5:30.  The servers were very attentive with keeping drinks flowing and water glasses filled.  The atmosphere was laid back, with dimly-lit rooms, traditional artwork, and Russian and other European styles of music playing softly.  Later in the night, there was live music, as a musician with an accordion played music for the people dining.

Everyone ordered something different.  I ordered the Chicken Kiev with potatoes and sautéed vegetables.  The chicken was fantastic; the frozen stuff at the store doesn’t even give it justice. The outside was extra-crispy, the chicken was juicy and tender, and the inside was filled with herbs, butter, and bacon. My arteries may be a little worse for the wear, but it was delicious.  The potatoes were mashed and pretty normal, the vegetables were nothing special, but there was a sauce on them that was fantastic I couldn’t quite identify. I think it was the honey pepper sauce, like on a friend’s entrée, Chicken “Kolobok.”  That was also very good, a boneless chicken stuffed with wild rice, dried fruits, and whole nuts, topped with the honey pepper sauce.  They had some interesting imported European and Russian beers and hard ciders in bottles and in taps. 

For desert, we had a Napoleon Tort, which alone is worth my return to this restaurant.  It was flaky layers of homemade pastry, fruit, and a whipped sweet cream.  This made-from-scratch classic Russian holiday treat was a great follow-up to the savory, buttery chicken Kiev. It was not super-sugary as many deserts are, but was perfectly sweetened.  Much larger than expected, I took several bites before I passed it around the table to my friends.  Needless to say, the plate came back empty.

I would definitely go back to this restaurant again in the future.  The food was good and was in large portions.  The Moscow on the Hill Russian restaurant in Saint Paul, located in the Summit-University neighborhood of St. Paul, is an excellent addition to the area’s culinary repertoire.

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