Back in the USSR at Manhattan’s Nasha Rasha

If you look past Nasha Rasha's proud displays of Soviet Army kitsch—and you should, if you'd prefer not to dwell on the wrenching struggles of the 20th century over your vodka and caviar—you'll find a surprisingly strong kitchen that shows a sure hand with classic Russian comfort food. On Chowhound, sea97horse recommends meltingly tender golubtsi (stuffed cabbage), juicy, ravioli-like pelmeni filled with lamb, and pan-fried potatoes with mushrooms, among other things.

Like the old Soviet Union, whose map sprawls across a wall above the bar, the menu covers a lot of ground: blini, borscht, vareniki (dumplings), pirozhki (meat-stuffed buns), pickled vegetables, ukha (fish soup), stroganoff, smoked fish, steaks and chops, even a few Soviet-era frankfurter dishes that sea97horse remembers vividly, if not fondly, from living in Leningrad back when it was Leningrad. But most of the comradely crowd has come to this loungey spot to drink, and they don't leave disappointed. Some 200 varieties of vodka (pictured) flow freely here—one infused with horseradish and dill "really cleared up my head," sea97horse seems to recall.

Nasha Rasha [Flatiron]
4 W. 19th Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), Manhattan
212-929-4444

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Photo from Nasha Rasha