THE first time I visited this new restaurant it was still closed. The next time I was there it was full of people standing and waiting for tables. For my third visit, it was already closed for the night. My fourth try on Thursday night turned out to be successful — there were no other diners and it was almost closing time but two friendly staffers led me to a table across from the artificial fireplace .
Not so hungry, I browsed through the thick leather-bound menu and decided to try Ukha, or fish soup, and a couple of Pirozhki, Russian bread stuffed with mashed potatoes. My companion ordered a set meal of rice and hamburger steak.Our food staffer served us a plate of white bread and butter, and three kinds of appetizers. My fish soup was served next in a white boat-shaped ceramic dish. Salmon was the fish for the day and it was served with onion bits and carrots. I found the soup a bit bland but I was not used to Russian flavors, and I finished it just the same.I took a piece off my companion’s hamburger steak and found it to be perfect.
The Pirozhki was served fresh from the oven and smelled tempting. The top and sides were crusty, a contrast to the soft and moist texture on the inside, and the mashed potatoes were flavored right, not sweet or salty. You can also try the Siberia Pirozhki platter for $9 and get the Russian stuffed bread with mashed potatoes, apples, and cabbage.Dessert was a surprise. We were served a rectangular platter with three compartments containing small round cookies, some pretzel looking things and bits of what looked like small chocolate cubes. I popped a small cookie in my mouth, expecting it to be sweet like most cookies and found it a bit salty, and not as hard as it looked. Expecting the pretzel to be salty, I found I was wrong. But it was also not sweet. Two wrong predictions with one more to go. Picking one cube from the third section of the dish, I was surprised to find it was not chocolate at all but some kind of delicious nougats.For the main entrées, check out the beef stroganoff with mashed potato, Golubtsy or cabbage rolls stuffed with meat, t-bone steak served with your choice of side dishes. You can also try the various salads like Shuba or layered salad with pickled herring, potatoes, carrots, beets and mayonnaise; vinaigrette salad Russian style; soups like traditional Russian Borsch and more. You can also try the pastry dishes like meat Pelmeni in pot or Russian meat dumpling, Varekini with mashed potato, or housemade ravioli served with sour cream, and other pastry dishes.
Meal sets that include salad, main dish, soup and dessert are also available from $25 and up. Siberian’s dessert selection includes a pancake platter good for three people, Russian apple pie served with vanilla ice cream, and Kartoshka or chocolate rum balls. Beverages include red and white wines, house wine, Champagne and sparkling wines, vodka, cognac, whisky, sodas and juices.
Stepping into the Siberian Restaurant is like stepping into a fantasy room filled with a pleasant mix of wooden furniture swathed in purple, gold, silver, red and velvet upholstery, with crystal chandeliers and quaint lamps hanging from the ceiling. It’s one place where you can have a semi-private space with comfortable, plush seats adorned with velvet throw pillows encased in gold, silver, red and green cases.
Siberian Restaurant is located on the second floor of ABC Store across from DFS in Garapan. It is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Cards are accepted. For inquiries or reservations, call 233-7722.
First published at the Marianas Variety