Tomorrow I return to cooking, so today we sought a new dining experience. We decided to check out a local Russian restaurant. This particular restaurant Arzu, got good reviews on the web and the online menu seemed like something we could even afford (assuming the prices were in American dollars).
Arzu is a small Kosher Russian restaurant in walking distance from our home. While waiting to be seated, an elderly woman (I think she was older than me, but then I think everyone over 40 is older than me) stopped before me and began speaking to me in Russian as she headed to the door to leave. She was smiling and so I smiled. That was about all I could do.
The restaurant was crowded. There was one long table with a large family enjoying the food and the company. They all spoke Russian. After a while it became clear to me that they all speak English outside the home and outside this restaurant. But here, at Arzu, they were all relaxed among friends and family and Russian was their comfort zone.
The menu was in Russian and English although we still did not know what we were getting. We figured, as I am sure my gentle readers would likewise figure, that a kebab that costs $4 is probably not a whole lot of food. Nevertheless I ordered a veal and liver kebab and Sir Braver ordered a chicken kebab. We also shared a meat pie. Later we ordered a lepeshka (homemade bread) – only half per the waitress’ recommendation.
The kebabs were very tasty. There were roughly six one-inch cubes of meat on a skewer. I loved the liver; the veal was pure fat. Sir Braver’s chicken was tasty, too. The meat pie was very flavorful and reminded me of a meat pie cooked by a Sephardic Jew in my distant past. The half bread was a semicircle of hard crust with fluffy inside. Very good, very different.
All in all, a very different experience for us. The patrons, however, all looked like family.