Rather than having to hop on a 20+ hour flight, Russian cuisine has taken root in NYC. Thanks to Chef Lovely Sandou and owner Alex Shapiro, now you only have to venture downtown to Greenwich Village’s Onegin Restaurant.

Inspired by famed Russian novelist Alexander Pushkin’s tale of Eugene Onegin, this dining experience is reminiscent of 19th century St. Petersburg at the height of the Russian czars with the opulent decor.

“Upon entering Onegin, guests are transported into a scene out of Pushkin’s novel, with a rich décor fitting for a Russian aristocrat. Onegin features an elegant dining room, traditional carriage seats with quotes from Pushkin adorning the handcrafted tables and brocade walls. Painted onto the ceiling, in the center of the dining room, are murals of celebrated Romantic Era Russian portraits, including one of Alexander Pushkin. Luxurious fabrics, ornate chandeliers and Ukrainian Birch accents provide the crowing touches to an overall flawless design.”

To start an authentic Russian meal, our beverage choices included vodka and tea. My pal, feeling under the weather, opted for some hot tea. We were astounded when our waiter left abruptly, but then immediately returned with a box, glowing with options laid before us. Literally. The tea was glowing in the lit box with the lid describing all of various flavors, including Amandine Rose Black, Black Dragon Pearl, Blueberry Bliss Rooibos, Wild Blossom Herbal Tea, Raspberry Riot, Toasted Nut Brulee, Moroccan Mint Green Tea, and Jasmine Dragon Pearl.

Unlike my friend, I was feeling fantastic, so I opted for a shot of their house-infused flavored vodkas. They have over 20 flavors, which include cranberry & red currant (pictured below), strawberry & blackberry, citrus (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit), cucumber & mint, melon & tarragon, pear & ginger, horseradish, horseradish & beets, and peach & caramel. They also have a slew of cocktails, one of their signature drinks being the Cucumber Cosmo: Russian Standard Vodka (of course), St. Germain, fresh cucumber juice, and sour mix.

 

To get into the mood, we started with a traditional Russian Vinegret roasted beet salad. The dish was tangy and full of flavor that mimicked the vibrant colors of the mixed vegetables. We moved on to the traditional Russian Pelmeni stuffed beef dumplings topped with sour cream, which seems to be a common theme in a lot of the dishes.

 

For even more hearty appetizer sides, we tried the Pierogis “pies” and the stuffed cabbage Golubtsy, both known for being the ultimate Russian comfort food. The stuffed cabbage was a new experience for me, doused in a delicious tomato paste and also topped with dollop of sour cream.

We strayed slightly from the traditional dishes for the main entree and tried the Honey Glazed Chilean Sea Bass. The bass was tenderly cooked and came with a side of amazing lobster mashed potatoes. The potatoes were deliciously creamy, but was served slightly lukewarm. Otherwise, the two paired perfectly, married with a bouquet of veggies.

Other recommended specialties included the House-Smoked Charcuterieof lamb sausage, house kielbasa, roasted pork loin, and rosemary-dijon roast sirloin served with home-made horseradish, mustard and marinated garlic sprout; the salad Olivier, a Russian potato salad dressed with dijion aioli; and the Chicken Kiev, boneless chicken breast pounded and rolled around cold herbed butter, then breaded and fried, served with mashed potatoes, grilled scallions and sautéed cherry tomatoes.

 

For dessert, we ordered the Sirniki Russian Cheesecake and the Halva parfait, to which our waiter shook his head. We thought we had ordered incorrectly or somehow insulted him, but then he smiled and told us that those were the two best choices. #Winning!

The cheesecake was a multi-layer masterpiece of sour cream topped with cranberry jam. The smooth tartness of the sour cream complemented the tongue-tingling sourness of the cranberries. It was plated beautifully, but to be honest, this dessert may be an acquired taste for those not used to uber-Russian flavors.

The parfait, on the other hand, I presume can be enjoyed by everyone – well, everyone without an unfortunate nut allergy, since Halva traditionally contains cashews and hazelnuts. Nontraditionally, however, this Halva is chilled into an ice cream-like consistency and then shaped into it’s regular block shape. This is definitely the dish to order!

In addition to their delicious cuisine, Onegin hosts special events throughout the week, including:

  • Romantic Karaoke Night – Every Tuesday at 10:00pm
  • Burlesque Fridays – Every Friday night starting at 9:00pm
  • Beats by resident DJ Liliya Moon
  • Happy Hour with $5 beer, wine, and house cocktails, along with other bar specials – Weekdays from 4:00pm to 7:00pm

They also have a private dining space for all of your party needs, so be sure to make your reservation for Onegin soon.

Yours,
Von

Onegin
391 Sixth Avenue
New York NY 10014
212.924.8001
www.oneginnyc.com

Images via Onegin and by Socially Superlative