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Sep 12, 2012 04:01 PM

kholodets fish aspic in Austin: Who's been to the Russian House?

Any early reports of our first Russian restaurant and their meat jellies ?? East fifth downtown. Austin eater did a short piece on it and apparently there are russian school, KGB, etc. uniforms you can try on in the lobby and kitsch rugs are hanging everywhere. The bar is referred to as homey. The meat jellies alone paired with infused vodka shots of myriad types for happy hour are tres inticing. Plenty of steamed and baked dough type pockets with varied stuffings load the menu. It's the gnarly stuff that has me grinning. One description of a beef soup dish is that the tendon melts and thickens the soup. perfect. vodka shot with a caviar chaser? welcome, Russian House, hopefully more will be written and it will be good. Is this town equipped to handle Russian Food ? I know I'm equipped to try it this weekend. Will report.

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  1. Ha, this is very intriguing... might need to start drinking again.

    8 Replies
    1. re: popvulture

      I walked by it yesterday and it doesn't look ready to open... I can check tomorrow.

      1. re: shan

        Ah, the AustinEater article eluded to the possibility of late July but they must be delayed. I was going to go today for lunch, shucks. This soup sounds hilarious: Ancient Russian Solyanka -
        Old Russian traditional thick soup that contains at least 8 different kinds of meats and sausages. Gotta love the use of "at least 8 meats", as seven or even 8 would clearly be insufficient. Served with sour cream and lemon. As for their infused beverages, the juniper and garlic, the horseradish, the pine nut, and the nazdorovye (aloe, ginger, garlic, horseradish, propolis) vodkas sound awfully fun. can't wait.

      2. re: popvulture

        yeah, i quit drinking every evening around 9 pm for nearly 22 hrs.

        1. re: slowcoooked

          Well shucks, it's still "opening soon" status as of my stop by there today. Paper's lining the glass door. I called and the answering machine is up, but no open date is provided. fish jelly will have to wait.

          1. re: slowcoooked

            I just walked by (I live about a block away) and its definitely closed. The paper isn't actually over the door, but the windows... I looked in the door and it looks like they are mostly ready to open so who knows...maybe its a permit thing. I haven't seen much progress there in the last month... the interior has tables, chairs, bar, supplies, even a table with a tablecloth on it and I also saw the coke machine cooler case looked to be running so they have electricity.

            1. re: slowcoooked

              If these guys know what they are doing you are in for a treat. Solyanka mysnaya is one of teh great soups of the world. The mushrooms zhulliene can be fantastic. Herring in a blanket is a favorite. I'll try it our f'sure when visiting over there.

              1. re: hazelhurst

                Yes, I'm excited to try the Solyanka, I've never had that. my brief and only exposure to Russian food was from teaching a Ukranian family English one summer 20 years ago. The mother would insist that I eat a huge amt of food every time I went to their house, borscht, sausage / egg roll type thing, honey cake with layers of thin cake / crepes piled 20 high and with honey and maybe finely ground nuts in between...such wonderful food. The accent is strong on the answering machine, so that's a good sign.

                1. re: slowcoooked

                  I was thinking that the dealys might be a a good sign too but that is hard to explain. I look forward to a report when someone does get there: if the solyanka is done right it will have both pickles and pickle juice (rassol) in it, also olives, dill...well, you can look up any number of recipes on the internet. It's great stuff. It will be fun to see if they can branch out into other soups: rassolnik, kharcho. None of this will impress the avant-garde Miniature Perfection freaks, but it shouldn't.

        2. One of the last messages on their Facebook page in late August indicated that they were still working on getting the inspection and permitting process done with the city. They said they are ready to go as soon as that process is finished.

          1. Well, its been about three weeks since last heard anything. Open yet? am guessing not but, if it is, has anyone been?

            8 Replies
            1. re: hazelhurst

              still not open as of yesterday... Honestly, it doesn't look like they have had any progress for the last month.

              1. re: shan

                Well, at least I am not missing anything. Maybe I can get over there in january and they might be open then....

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Well, according to Eater Austin and Russian House's facebook page, they are opening tomorrow

                  1. re: shan

                    is this supposed to be this exciting? I am there.

                      1. re: princeofthieves

                        Apparently yes, I am going today or tomorrow for lunch

                        1. re: princeofthieves

                          Well they are only open for dinner this week !! Shucks.

                          1. re: slowcoooked

                            Everything up to here is speculation. Anyone actually been here?

              2. Has anyone gone to this joint yet? I am anxious to hear about it since I occasionally get to Austin and love Russian stuff.

                5 Replies
                1. re: hazelhurst

                  It's sad that no one has reported on this. I haven't been because I don't get out to dinner downtown much any more. One of my trusted friends went with a group Saturday night and was decidedly underwhelmed.

                  1. re: Carter B.

                    Sorry to hear your friend did not like it..looks like a nice train wreck from what I can see. Of course, Russian food ain;t for everyone.

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      Right, I'd still like to try it at some point.

                      1. re: Carter B.

                        I saw some reviews elsewhere--I forget where--that were all over the board although the writers who professed slavic roots seemed to enjoy least, those who were Far Removed From Home. The fact that they have mushrooom zhulienne and solyanka encourages me: I have had trouble finding those in New York's Russian restaurants.

                  2. re: hazelhurst

                    Okay I went there right before Christmas, loved it and am planning to go again. I went with my BFF who was visiting and has always been willing to try any restaurant I drag her to. Unfortunately she has some significant dietary restrictions now, so we weren't able to try everything I wanted to try.

                    I will try to reconstruct.

                    For appetizers we had the eggplant rolls which were delicious! It was cold slices of eggplant wrapped around some kind of sour cream or cream cheese filling. Not sure exactly what was in the filling but is was delicious!. I also had the sour cabbage/sauerkraut which was served with bread and a shot of vodka! If you like sauerkraut I think you will love this!

                    For soup we had the Tsar's Ukha. Basically a fish soup. I wanted to try the borscht but her dietary restrictions didn't allow. It wasn't to my taste because I am not that crazy about fish but my girlfriend loved it.

                    For the entree, I ordered the wild boar pelmeni which was the special, It was pretty good, like ravioli, although I wasn't really able to tell it was wild boar in the filling. They were delicious though and they brought a saucer of sour cream with herbs and some other kind of sauce to mix with the pelmeni that was awesome! My girlfriend had the Chicken Taboka which was a cornish hen half and grilled vegetables. The cornish hen tasted like it was smoked then maybe pan fried (I am not sure, but I thought it was really good). According to a Russian cookbook I looked at later, I think it is actually supposed to be a butterflied chicken panfriend under a brick but whatever! It was really good!. We also had the buckwheat for a side dish. I have read about buckwheat kasha which supposedly involves sauteing buckwheat in egg until dry and then steaming it. I think it was just steamed buckwheat groats with butter. It was tasty. though, and the waitress told us we were the first ones to actually order the buckwheat.

                    All in all I loved it. And cant wait to go again. Everything we ate was pretty good and most of it was excellent! Of course I dont know much about Russian food and don't know how authentic the food was. I just know that I pretty much liked every thing I ate and cant wait to go again.

                    BTW, I also tried several of their infused vodkas and loved them too!

                    The portions arent huge, and the prices arent cheap but I was happy with my meal. It was heartening to see that they seemed to have a decent crowd the weekend before Christmas. So I hope they will stay around.

                  3. I went back in November and thoroughly enjoyed it. Interesting menu and unique interior. It isn't fancy, but no reason to expect it to be.

                    Lack of publicity and a lousy location will be a problem for them. Hear there is a good size Russian community in Austin so hopefully they will lend their support. I have a relative who travels to Russia often on business and she was very pleased with her meal there.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: PappyAustin

                      NOW we're talking! I am allowing for some bad experiences due to getting kinks knocked out or just not being aware of the food (who likes pickle juice in their soup? Well, I do...). Good news, indeed. We lost the only Russian-style place New Orleans had some years back and it never was up-to-snuff in my view. But as I said, I get to Austin from time to time and it would be fun to settle in there for awhile. Thanks.