If you're a Russian-American or just a Slavophile, this is a great little place to stop for a sophisticated and authentic Russian meal. Boston may not have massive immigrant neighborhoods like its larger neighbor to the south, New York, but every once in a while you can find an authentic little enclave of friendly immigrant culture even up here.
Some friends of mine who had just returned from living in Ukraine for 2 years were here to visit, and we wanted to see if we could find some fresh borsht just like babushka used to make. We called ahead to make reservations, and I'm certainly glad we did. The resturant is quite tiny, and since one half of the restaurant was reserved for a private party, that only left 3 tables for regular diners. The decor is quite plain, but the chairs were elegant and comfortable. Over the small bar was a flat-screen TV showing recent Russian and Ukrainian pop concerts.
Our drinks waitress was a little stand-offish, but the regular waiter was very attentive and professional. He was fluent in English, but also was very complimentary of our attempts to ask questions in Russian. A little later, the restaurant's jovial owner came out and chatted with us a bit in Russian about his hometown, Odessa.
Most of the menu seemed quite authentically Russian and contained most of our favorite classic dishes, such as borsht, solyanka, golubzi, and vareniki. The prices of the main dishes seemed excessively high to me ($18 for ground chicken, breaded and fried? In Ukraine I could buy that for a dollar!), but you can have a very decent meal just getting a soup ($5-7) and a hot appetizer ($7-12). Our soups were excellent, and most of the other things we got were all very tasty and attractively presented. I especially enjoyed the decadent puff pastry with mushrooms julienne, but the excessive amount of cream in it (Russians like to slather heavy cream on almost everything) upset my tummy a bit afterwards.
The restaurant carries a decent wine menu, but disappointingly none of the wines were from Eastern Europe. There's one Russian beer on the menu, Baltika, and of course a selection of vodkas. While Stoli might not be quite like visiting Mother Russia, I was still greatly pleased by the overall Russian-ness of the experience. Most of the other patrons in the restaurant were speaking Russian, and that, plus the good food and music, made for a great dinner out.
If you own or manage Stoli Bar & Restaurant, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.