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Apr 1, 2011 11:30 AM

Stoli -- a slice of the Ukraine in Brookline Village

There haven't been reports on this little place since way back in 2006 and I do think it deserves more love here on the board. The timing of the snowstorm made it the perfect place for four of us to enjoy dinner last night and we got to try a lot of what they offer.

Started with a tower of blintzes with salmon, salmon roe, sour cream and dill. Also a mushroom crepe and a samsa, a puff pastry delight stuffed with lamb, beef and onions. Everything had a liberal dollop of sour cream, which is a good thing in my book. We also tried vereniki, little dumplings stuffed with potatoes and topped with onions and more sour cream. Vereniki were probably the weakest of the starters, lovely and delicate in texture but pretty flavorless. As a puff pastry fiend, I liked the samsa the best but we managed to scarf everything down with glasses of icy horseradish vodka.

Mains were beef stroganoff for two of us, and the other two went fishy. Sturgeon fish pie was strongly flavored but devoured, and the kulebyaka (puff pastry wrapped fish with vegetables, mushrooms and onions) was heeeeelariously presented with an olive for an eye -- see picture below. I have to say the stroganoff was some of the best I've ever had, and I could lap up a whole 'nother vat today as the snow melts.

Desserts were good too ... blintzes with chocolate and a warm apple strudel. Pot of tea with strawberry preserves to stir in, and we were well sated. Sadly the place was empty, and while it's not cheap ($56/head but a LOT of food and a few wudkas each) it's certainly a good value for the level of cooking. Chef came out at one point and accepted our compliments in a typically taciturn Russian way. Our waitress was lovely and very eager to please us. The room is small but nicely decorated, with the exception of the large TV over the bar displaying the Andre Rieu PBS special concert (ugh). Just try to look away.

Lots of things we didn't get to on the menu (http://www.russian-restaurant-boston....) and I'd like to try the borscht and the lamb in particular.

Anyone else been? What's the story on this place ... despite being a fun and lively time for our party, it felt kind of sad. Are they sometimes more busy? I can't imagine how they stay open otherwise.

Pictures forthwith (blintz tower, vereniki, sabsa, sturgeon pie, "here's looking at you" fish, stroganoff, strudel, chocolate blintzes):

Stoli Bar & Restaurant
213 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445

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  1. YumYum, I haven't been since before 2006 and went twice, but at this point my memories are limited to thinking it was a bit bland and a touch expensive (expected for some things like sturgeon), business was very slow but it was more full in the evenings, and WOW my coworker is totally nuts on the last visit. Its certainly chowish, but I have been back to things like Jasmine Bistro and Cafe Polonia a lot more because of better atmosphere and overall tastier chow. Sounds like you did get better overall service than we did (although toasting vodka with the restaurant staff was pretty funky).

    Cafe Polonia
    611 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127

    Jasmine Bistro
    412 Market St, Brighton, MA 02135

    2 Replies
    1. re: itaunas

      Bumping this as I went for the first time last night and enjoyed it. It's a little pricey for a school night and not the hearty chowing that Cafe Polonia provides, but it is a little more refined with a broad pan-Soviet menu with a French flair: Ukrainian, Georgian etc. I tasted the mushroom soup which is quite good with distinct flavors of several kinds of mushrooms, potatoes, vegetables and barley in a clear thickened broth. The Latkes with lox, sour cream and salmon caviar was exactly that. The Latke was tasty but I prefer the crispy puffy potato pancakes at Polonia to these, which resembled the enonymous thin puck found in a sausage MacMuffin. I shared duck breast with garlic mashed potatoes,which was well prepared and would have been at home in "name your favorite" bistro and for a few dollars less. A rack of lamb Karsky looked great and was thoroughly enjoyed by a DC. Tried the blini with chocolate mousse and apple strudel and both were tasty. With a large bottle of Russian beer (Porter number 6, indicating alcohol content), it was a nice meal for a mild winter's night with dear friends.

      1. re: gourmaniac

        Thanks for the recent review, I work right around the corner from this place, walk by it everyday and have never given it a try. Definitely want to make a point to stop by in the next couple weeks.

    2. I've not been, but it seems like a lot of the Russian restaurants in Boston are banquet halls, and geared for large groups/parties. From your comments, it seems like Stoli is this type of place. Also, a bit of nit-picking, but the restaurant's website says they serve Russian, not Ukrainian cuisine. I realize there's a lot of overlap, but each are distinct in their own way. Actually, the best thing I remember about eating when I was in Ukraine (note - no "the!") was the array of food from all over Eastern Europe and the Caucuses. I think my favorite meal was at a Georgian restaurant.

      Stoli Bar & Restaurant
      213 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445

      3 Replies
      1. re: craigasaurus

        If yumyum's Stoli is the place I ate at a couple of times around 2007, it's not a banquet hall. I remember a narrowish room with a reddish decor. I rather liked the food, but not enough to go out of my way to eat there. I haven't happened to be in the area since.

        And, yes, I too thought the place was Russian, not Ukranian.

        Stoli Bar & Restaurant
        213 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445

        1. re: FoodDabbler

          Same place, 'Dabbler. Ain't no banquet-ing happening in that space. They are primarily Russian. They have two websites for some reason, the one cited above by yumyum, and then there's the below one too, which happens to say this about their menu offerings: "....the menu is an odd mix of Russian/Ukrainian/French/Caucasian /Asian and Jewish dishes."

          It's fun going thru the menu and trying to identify the "Caucasian" dishes. There might be some on the handwritten specials board that hopefully somebody can translate for us.

        2. re: craigasaurus

          It's a small space that was a coffee bar.