Best Kosher Business Lunch in Moscow

Noodles is a fairly new kosher restaurant located just blocks from the Kremlin in the center of Moscow. The restaurant has a very elegant, modern interior with a great use of different color lighting. I am a bathroom snob, and this restaurant has the cleanest and nicest bathrooms of any kosher restaurant I have ever visited. That is a huge point in its favor.

Many restaurants in Moscow have a business lunch where there is a preset menu for a set price. All the kosher restaurants in Moscow are open for lunch, but Noodles is one of the first restaurants to offer a business lunch.

Their business lunch prices are as follows:
Soup, salad, and beverage – 450 rubles (approximately $14)
Salad, hot main dish, and beverage – 550 rubles (approximately $17)
Soup, hot main dish, and beverage – 550 rubles (approximately $17)
Soup, salad, hot main dish, and beverage – 650 rubles (approximately $30)

I ordered the soup plus a main dish. When my soup came I was surprised to see that it was a huge bowl. Usually with business lunches restaurants give you smaller portions. Not Noodles, my soup and main course were both dinner sized portions. I ordered the chicken soup with poached egg. I was curious to try it as the only time I have had egg in soup was Egg Drop Soup at Chinese restaurants. The soup was tasty and the egg gave it a light and airy touch. In general, I am not a fan of egg yolk so I just ate the whites. It was good, but next time I think I would try one of their more interesting soups. As a main course I ordered their house special noodles stewed with chunks of beef and arugula leaves. I was presented with a giant bowl of spaghetti in a bolognese style sauce and it was delicious. There was so much meat and just the right amount of sauce. I barely ate half my bowl because the portion was so large.

Overall the food was good and you can’t beat the price for a business lunch. It is definitely worth a visit to Noodles.

I apologize that I do not have any photos, but the day I ate there I forgot my camera. However, if you click on this link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.199559936787861.48375.197623373648184&type=3  you can see an album on their Facebook page that shows pictures of some their menu items. The images of the food really do look like what you are actually served.

Noodles
Bol’shoy Cherkasskiy pereulok, 17
Telephone: +7 (495) 623-5396
Metro: Kitay Gorod, Lubyanka, or Ploshchad Revolyutsii
http://kosherclub.ru/

Mixed Reviews for Misada

Half the reason to check out the restaurant Misada is to have an excuse to go to Afimall. The mall is an escape from Russia. There is a fountain show every hour in the atrium, the top floor has giant matroshka dolls, and the only Banana Republic in Russia is there (though beware the prices are at least double what would you pay in the States).  The other perk of the mall is the presence of the famed frozen yogurt shop Pinkberry.  Note that all Pinkberries in the USA are kosher, but none of them abroad are certified.  The Pinkberry is just as delicious as I remembered from New York, and I was so excited to be able to choose toppings like blackberries and blueberries, which are expensive and very hard to find in Moscow.

But I digress from the kosher review at hand.  Misada is on the fifth floor of the mall. I would describe their decor as Middle Eastern.  See the pictures below for what I mean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I get to the food at Misada, I should mention they have a book corner with Russian language Jewish books, including  children’s books on topics like different Jewish holidays and famous Jews like Marc Chagall.

I was delighted to find out that the restaurant has English menus! My husband and I went for lunch and decided to start with a salad that was topped with warm turkey and dressing. When the salad arrived, it failed in its presentation. It looked like lettuce topped with canned green peas, turkey that appeared too pink, and a massive amount of dressing on top. Thankfully, it tasted better than it looked. We managed to eat it all, although I wouldn’t order it again. The turkey wasn’t the best quality and the dressing tasted like mayonnaise with seasoning. The lettuce and tomatoes were fresh though.

For my main course I ordered the Turkish-style steak shashlik. After the appetizer, I was nervous.  But the dish turned out to be incredible! The plate came with tons of meat; it was so big I didn’t think I would be able to finish it. The food tasted so delicious though that I did become a member of the clean-plate club.  The meat was served with a chunky tomato sauce on the side for dipping, although the meat was so flavorful on its own I didn’t want to take away from its taste. The beef had virtually no fat, and every bite was juicy and tender. The Turkish spices complemented the natural meat flavors perfectly.

My husband’s meal arrived ten minutes after mine. This is standard for Russian service, but I still don’t understand the practice and it still annoys me. He ordered a hamburger. He received a questionable looking meat patty with a piece of pita cut in half.  It was not quite what he had in mind. When he asked for ketchup for the burger and fries, they said they didn’t have any and offered him the tomato sauce that was served as the side to my dish. It was too chunky to substitute for ketchup though.  The burger was edible, but it didn’t taste like very good quality meat and l wouldn’t recommend it.  However the fries were nice and crisp.


I don’t think I would make a special trip back to the mall to eat at Misada. However, if I was in the mall already, I would get lunch there. If you go, I would recommend that you stick to shaslik since my main course was excellent.

Misada
Afimall – 5th floor, near the cinema “Formula Kino”
Presnenskaya nab., 2.
Telephone: +8 (499) 408-0106
Metro: Vystavochnaya
http://www.afimall.ru/restaurants/misada/ 

Zucker – Only Semi-Sweet

Update: This restaurant is  no longer kosher!

I recently ate at the newest kosher restaurant in Moscow, Zucker. The name means “sugar” in Yiddish. There was lots of excitement for the opening because Zucker is the first kosher restaurant in the Ginza Project group. They are involved in some of the trendiest restaurants in Moscow and have a reputation for serving great food.

When you walk into the restaurant the only sign that you are in a kosher restaurant is that there are a few menorahs as decoration. Otherwise the decorations are modern art, bookshelves and very comfortable overstuffed chairs and sofas.

I was disappointed to find that Zucker does not have an English menu. Luckily, one of my dining companions (my husband) was able to help me figure out the words I did not know. Before our starters arrived we were served bread and a delicious eggplant dip. There were three different types of bread and they were all delicious. The dip was so good too, we cleaned our plates quickly. It is rare to get freebies in Russia and it was a nice treat.

For a starter, I along with one of my friends ordered the chicken noodle soup and my husband ordered the pumpkin soup with sea bass. The chicken soup was good. There were nice, large chunks of chicken and carrots in the soup. Russians love to add way too much dill to soups but this soup had just the right amount.

The pumpkin soup was delicious. It had a nice rich pumpkin flavor with large pieces of sea bass and big croutons. It was expensive at 480 rubles a bowl, but worth it if you want a smaller main course.

The main courses were hit or miss. My husband ordered the asparagus risotto. My personal feeling is that you should never order risotto at a kosher meat restaurant because you can’t use butter or milk. I tried to warn him, but it was a mistake he had to make for himself. The presentation was pretty, but it was flavorless. No matter how good the dairy substitutes, it is almost impossible to replicate. I would not recommend ordering.

The second dish was grilled chicken with potatoes. Again, Zucker scored points on presentation, but the chicken was mostly dark meat and on the bone. There was a decent amount of meat on the chicken, but it was nothing spectacular. There was a bbq type sauce on top that was flavorful.

I ordered the steak. I was frustrated when I ordered it that they wouldn’t let me order it rare. The only option was medium. This is Russia so there is only so much I can question it. When it arrived it was still pink inside, but I would have preferred it a little more rare. Regardless it was delicious. The steak was just fatty enough to give it flavor, but I didn’t have to pick around huge chunks of fat. It was cooked on a grill and you could taste the nice flavors a grill gives to steak. It was served with red and yellow peppers grilled to perfection, an onion (that I didn’t touch), and a nice sprig of rosemary.

By the time we finished, none of us were hungry for dessert. In general, I usually think pareve desserts aren’t worth the calories. They had a display case of the desserts and they looked nice, but I can’t vouch for the taste.

Pros – one of the cleanest bathrooms of any kosher restaurant I have ever been to, free bread and eggplant dip, great service – all of our meals were served at the same time, great location in the center of the city, very nice atmosphere

Cons – very expensive food and drinks, only Russian menus, the food isn’t excellent

Zucker
12/2 Bolshoi Kozikhinskiy Perlouk
Telephone: +7-495-650-4410
Metro: Tverskaya, Pushkinskaya

Rave Reviews for Rimon

Sorry for the lack of posts recently! I spent the past month in Israel, eating lots and lots of good kosher food. I am now back in Moscow and back to blogging.

Michael and I ate lunch on Sunday at one of my favorite kosher restaurants in Moscow – Rimon at the Choral Synagogue. I had to stop at the Synagogue to buy kosher chicken, and Michael talked me into lunch as well. Rimon is the Hebrew word for pomegranate, and the restaurant has pomegranate-themed cocktails, in addition to a kosher wine list. On this visit, they also had winter-themed cocktails, including my favorite glintvein (mulled wine). I was impressed with the spices in the drink and the quantity of fruit.

The restaurant is on the second floor of the Choral Synagogue and feels homey, yet still like a real restaurant rather than a synagogue dining room. The walls are adorned with Jewish-themed paintings, but not just of Jewish men learning. The pictures include holiday celebrations, food, and Jewish families. The restaurant is very clean, which is always a huge plus in my book. The service is fantastic. All the meals are always served at the same time, which is not very common in Russia. The food is consistently very good in the restaurant, but it is never packed with people. During our last visit there were only two other tables of customers. It’s a shame they don’t do a better job of publicizing the restaurant.

Since we were only going for lunch, we passed on ordering any appetizers. I usually order the chicken cesar salad, which has nice strips of non-fatty chicken and not too much dressing, with lots of fresh lettuce. Instead of using fake cheese, the restaurant uses hard boiled egg yolks, which surprisingly is a nice touch.

Michael loves their garlic potatoes, and claims they are the best potatoes in the city. Therefore, he orders his main course based on what goes with garlic potatoes. He usually orders the chicken schnitzel (I don’t love it because to me it tastes too much like Passover), however this time he ordered the lyula (lamb) kebab. As Michael was eating it, he described it as garlic-y and onion-y. Since I hate onions, I didn’t try it, but it looked tasty. As usual, he loved his potatoes.

My favorite dish – a lamb stew – has been taken off the menu for some reason. My new go-to is almost as good. It is a roasted rack of lamb served with potato latkes layered with vegetable ratatouille. The presentation is gorgeous and the lamb is so good, I pick up the bones to get off every possible scrap of meat. The meat is tender and so flavorful. It is served with a pomegranate sauce on the side, but I think the meat is so tasty on its own that the sauce is not needed. The latkes are crisp, albeit a little oily. The vegetables are a nice mixture and make me feel that I am getting some vegetables with the meal. Since they are served with the latkes, no salt, pepper or sauce is needed. The portion is huge and way too much for me to eat. Michael usually ends up with some of the latke/vegetable dish.

I would highly recommend this restaurant for a good meal!

Rimon
Moscow Choral Synagogue
Bolshoi Spasoglinishevskiy  pereulok, 10 (Enter the Moscow Choral Synagogue thorough the main entrance, take the staircase on the right up to door 208 where the restaurant is located)
Telephone: +7 (499) 623-5012
Metro: Kitay Gorod
http://jewishcom.ru/services/restaurant/

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Jerusalem Restaurant – Sizzling Meat

My friend and I debate about what is the best kosher restaurant in Moscow. She thinks it is Jerusalem Restaurant located at the Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue. (We will get to my favorite later). I have been many times and the food is always good, but I was never blown away. The first time I ate there I ordered a hamburger. I know to be a food blogger I should have an open mind and not to be a picky eater, yet I am! I hate onions with a passion – raw, cooked, sautéed – I hate them in every form. Well, the hamburger meat was mixed with little pieces of onions. Didn’t White Castle make their millions off that idea? So I can’t judge the restaurant based on my pickiness.

Since my first not great experience, I have been back and have always had good food. I always seem to order the schwarma. Their appetizers, including soups, are also good. However, my friend always talks about this sizzling plate of meat that she gets, but I could never seem to find it on the menu. My husband who uses the Russian menu has never found it there either. My friend always goes with groups and never does the ordering.

I finally went to the restaurant with her and a group and ate the sizzling meat plate. It was amazing!! There was a grill and on top were different types of shashlk including chicken on the bone, lamb chops, pieces of steak, ground beef (with you guessed it – onions mixed in), and veal. It was served with potatoes and large pieces of laffa bread on top. Shashlik is a form of shish kebab and very popular in Russia. Everything was amazing!! The meat was cooked to perfection and was not dry or fatty!

I even found out how to order it when I go back. The restaurant has all the types of shashlik individually on the menu. You just ask your server to put together a mixture for you or you say the different types of meat you want. I would highly recommend the shashlik platter to anyone who goes to Jerusalem. It is certainly on par with the quality and taste of most New York kosher restaurants.

Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue
Bolshaya Bronnaya, 6 (Fifth floor)
Telephone: +7 (495) 695-4530
Metro: Tverskaya, Pushkinskaya

Welcome to Kosher by the Kremlin!

The Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chasidic Judaism taught: If you walk in a forest and a spring appears, you say it is a miracle; if you walk the next day in the forest and a spring appears, you say it is a coincidence. But he explained, if you see it all the time you take it for granted, when in fact that is the true miracle. When we encounter miracles everyday we take them for granted.

The same could be said about kosher restaurants in Moscow.  Just 20 years have passed since the fall of Soviet Union when Judaism was severely limited.  There were no kosher restaurants, and matzo was brought into the country in secret by Jews living abroad. When I moved to Moscow one year ago there were four kosher restaurants, all in synagogues.  One year later, there are five new kosher restaurants with rumors of one or two more opening in the coming months.  It is a true miracle to witness the rebirth of Judaism and to see it flourishing today.  The fact that none of the new kosher restaurants are in synagogues are a testament to where the Jewish community has come in Moscow in such a short time.

This blog will provide an up-to-date English listings of all the kosher restaurants and kosher markets in Moscow, including addresses, telephone numbers, and the nearest metro.  You can find this information on the tabs above.  In addition, I will start to review all the restaurants and provide my thoughts on the quality, value, service, and taste.  I have come to realize that even though there are more kosher restaurants than ever before in Moscow, it does not mean they are all good!  I look forward to your feedback and suggestions.