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“Authentic Russian food in Baltimore”
Review of Vernisage Restaurant & Cafe - CLOSED

Vernisage Restaurant & Cafe
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed December 20, 2012

I have organized a luncheon for 25 at this restaurant about a week ago. I have never been to this restaurant before so it was a little nerve-wrecking to have a party there site unseen. I did everything over the phone. However, everything was perfect - service, food, attitude of the owners and staff. There was nothing that they couldn't do. In fact, they even ordered a cake for me from an outside bakery and picked it up themselves. All that fo no additional charge. They don't make money on alcohol so getting alcohol from them was a very good deal. I am originally from Russia so I know how Russian food should taste. I was very satisfied and everyone in my party was very satisfied as well.

5  Thank boris477
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (14)
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9 - 13 of 14 reviews

Reviewed December 6, 2012

Owned by a Ukranian couple, the wife acts as hostess, waitress and the husband does the cooking. And what cooking! Everything freshly cooked, really outstanding Ukranian, Russian and other Eastern European dishes. My wife and I had dinner there last night. Both had outstanding borscht, then we shared a shrimp cocktail (excellent) and to-die-for potato dumplings, absolutely the best I've ever tasted!

My wife was already full so she had her main course prepared to take home. I had the Chicken Kiev,. Done perfectly, it's the signature dish from the city where the wife was born.A delicately light blackberry Napoleon hit just the right note to end the meal. Can't imagine how it could be better.

The atmosphere is unusual. A now unused bandstand at one end of a big hall indicates that this was once a dancehall. Just the one big room, it's atmosphere challenged. But focus on the food and the hospitality of the owners. For those not tempted by eastern European cuisine there are enough "American" choices to satisfy. But without doubt anyone with a desire for authentic (my mother-in-law was from Ukraine). will love this restaurant!

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4  Thank bkinlein
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2012

My wife and I went here the weekend after Thanksgiving for a very early, pre-show dinner, and we were the only customers from 3:15 - 5:15. I was not surprised, however, given the time of year and the time of day, and expect that most folks who eat here like to eat late by American standards. We had a Groupon for a 5-Course tasting menu. I was disappointed to find that we were not allowed to select our courses from all of the items on the dinner menu that is posted online.

For our cold appetizer, we chose the marinated vegetables, which consisted of two piles of cabbage/slaw (different types), two pickles (different types), and a tomato. As someone who has lived (and eaten) in Russia, this plate brought back good memories of everyday side-dishes, and I enjoyed them. But for a native American, I imagine that this dish might be a bit disappointing.

No "black bread" was served with the cold appetizer, which I would have appreciated.

My wife drank the included wine, chose the Merlot, and it was nice. I ordered two servings of vodka (Russian Standard), and contrary to another reviewer's finding that I would enjoy a "savings" on alcohol, I did not think that $6 for a rather small shot of vodka (Russian Standard) was an exceptional deal.

For our hot appetizer, we chose the mussels. There were not a lot of them. They sat in a lovely cream-based sauce, along with four small slices of garlic bread. They tasted good.

For our soup, we both chose the non-vegetarian borscht. It was good but could have used more than the tiny dollop of sour cream added to it. One small piece of black bread was served with the soup. At last!

For our main courses, my wife had the lamb kebab, and I had a pork-based equivalent of Chicken Kiev. Each came with some seasoned rice, some cooked, fresh vegetables (not many), and a nice chutney. The lamb was cooked well-done and was tough. No choice was given as to how it would be cooked. The taste was not bad; it was just more difficult to cut and chew than we would have liked. No complaints about the pork dish.

The included dessert was okay. It appeared to be a slice of what Americans would probably think of as semi-sweet "apple bread," along with whipped cream, strawberry slices and chocolate syrup.

I had a cup of tea with the dessert, which consisted of hot water and a tea bag. Charge was $2.50.

We enjoyed talking with the person who served us, and it was nice to be the only table she had! For those who like formal dining, the courses came out too fast at times, but we were happy to pick from several dishes simultaneously and needed to keep things moving in order to timely get to where we were going after.

When the bill came, we were charged, in addition to the amount paid for the Groupon, for the vodka (expected), the tea (expected), and sales tax and a 20% tip, calculated upon the value of the menu items chosen. I had already decided that I would give a tip of about 20%, but I was surprised that the amount was imposed by the server. If service or food had been poor, I would have challenged the amount.

I would consider going back again.

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4  Thank westernfb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2012

The food is awesome. Costs maybe a tiny bit more than you would expect for location, but you will more than make that up in savings on alcohol, which is very reasonable. Very nice people.

1  Thank Ben B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2012

I purchased a Groupon to surprise my husband for Father's Day & it turned out to be one of the best meals of our entire lives. The restaurant itself is beautiful, very whimsical but the food is fantastic. Simply put it's out of this world. Please don't hesitate to let these amazing people make recommendations for you, they really put their heart & soul into everything they do. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. (thank you Sergei, you were so helpful & if hadn't been for you I may not have been do adventurous w/ my choices) It took us about an hour & a half to get there since we live on the Eastern Shore but I would drive all day long just to go back again, it was that extraordinary.

I read all of the reviews on Yelp, Urbanspoon, Yahoo etc... before I purchased the Groupon but I couldn't understand why there was only one review here on Ta??? so I figured that this would be the best place to post my review. (btw, please take the very few negative reviews on those other sites w/ a grain of salt)

The things that are most important to us in terms of food/fine dining are the overall ambiance of the place, along w/ presentation, temperature, aroma, texture and taste of the food. All of these things were superb/over the top.

We started off w/ the assorted pickled vegetables, amazing. Most people wouldn't think to try them but please don't shy away b/c they are really, really good. Oh my, then there was the Borsch!!! When they say that their soups are gourmet they really mean it, the soups were exceptional (I adore soup, eating it & making it at home, I consider myself to be a soup snob so take it from me, order the soup you will not regret it) My husband got some sort of Middle Eastern Soup (another awesome recommendation from Sergei) & it was almost as good as the borsch, almost. My entree was the fresh white fish of the day & it was served to perfection, extremely delicious & I really enjoyed it. My husband ordered the chicken kiev & he thought it was really great as well.

Make sure to order some of the Russian beer, Baltika #9 was my favorite & don't forget about the VODKA! I would go back for the vodka alone (I am not a huge liquor fan either, I love beer but I only drink liquor once in a while during celebratory types of occasions so I was extremely impressed, to bad I waited so long to try it but from now on I know exactly what I want) The vodka was outstanding. I would have never had thought to pair it w/ pickles, they really do work well together. (it reminded me of when we had sagrita w/ our tequila in Mexico)

The family that runs this well oiled machine were so welcoming, friendly & hospitable, we can not say enough positive things about them. They certainly made us feel like we were part of the family. This is the sort of place that you take someone if you want to WOW them. Even the bathroom was spotless & aesthetically pleasing. (when I go into a restaurant one of the first things I do is wash my hands, it's my own weird way of getting that first impression, so in my mind I know if they take care of the bathroom then they take care of the kitchen to, I know that sounds weird & it's more of a girl thing but it's true)

This was a very special day for us, we had such a romantic time. If you want a wonderful meal, impeccable service along w/ visual delights then this is your place. Bol'shoe spasibo Vernisage. You have inspired us to visit St. Petersburg & for that I am very grateful.

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1  Thank hailtotheredskins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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