Beer, European, Sport Bars
Address: Taganskaya ul., 21
Tel: +7 495 210-1210
Open from 12:00 until 24:00, Fri until 02:00.
When I was asked to do a review for Kolbasoff, mostly I heard one thing: "beer" in the form of a question. I said "Oh, yes!" Then I went online to find out more about what I would be having to eat that night, which was, as the restaurant's name not-so-subtly implies, sausages. Now - I am an omnivore at heart, and I eat meat, but to tell you the truth, the whole idea of sausages, especially of what potentially goes into them, sort of scares me a little. But then, at the bottom of the restaurant's website, I was met with a challenge I could not refuse. Kolbasoff claims that their sausages are "real manly food" and that in the future men are going to start craving more and more sausages. They hasten to add, however, that women may also eat sausages as long as there's beer to be had. Man's food, you say? Food for men? Well, I'll just see about that!
Kolbasoff has two main halls. We were seated in the larger hall, which features a large bar near the entrance and segues into several sections of booths and other tables by the window. The lights were dimmed (drinking beer in brightly lighted places is never a good idea) and the far wall features a collection of various beer bottles and mugs from around the world. The design looks new and spotless, which made me a little suspicious - I'm more accustomed to much darker, dustier and not-so-spotless watering holes. But Kolbasoff is no mere watering hole! It is a restaurant, with food even! And so we set about checking out the menu. I was presented with the English version of the menu, while Mr. Polly requested the Russian original.
Upon opening the English menu, I saw that I was invited to order the "firm supper" and try "any firm sausage our restaurant." Firm sausage you say? Of course this meant firmenny, or the restaurant's own trademark delicacies, but it's always nice to see that there's plenty of firm sausage on the menu. I was bombarded with options and had no idea at all what to order! Should I try the "crust small triangle" or the "fried in crackers pork ears" for a hot appetizer? Or might I be better off with "the fried cheese tubules from the test"? Should I choose the "creamy cream soup" or the "wild mushrooms with creamy"? The choices were endless and baffling, so I cheated and looked at the Russian menu.
We decided to try the Kolbasoff salad, which is made of - you guessed it - sausages! And potatoes, pickles, beans, onions and radishes. We also ordered the meat carpaccio, which somehow appeared on our table as the salmon carpaccio, and the "beer shrimp" allegedly prepared in a "spicy mash." For entrees, we decided to try some nice firm sausage, namely Kolbasoff sausage platters #1 and #2. Number one is made with herbs and spices, while number was described as hot and spicy. It was my job to try the spicy dish since we all know that Russians can't really handle (or judge) true spicy hotitude.
We were served our first two beer selections (Paulaner Oktoberfest and Spaten Oktoberfest) with the carpaccio, shrimp and Kolbasoff salad all at once. As we somehow got salmon instead of meat (I guess myasnoye can sort of sound like lososevoye), I gave it to Mr. Polly since I don't dig fish too much. I did try it though. It was pretty salmony, and if you're into salmon you'd probably like it. Mr. Polly immediately began ripping the bug-eyed heads from several beer shrimp while I examined the Kolbasoff salad. All I could think of was "there is a bunch of sausage on this plate in the guise of a salad, and after that, they're going to give me "more sausage!"I wasn't sure I could eat all that sausage. I began to doubt myself. But then I remembered -men should not be able to have a food that is all their own! I must prove that women can also eat sausage! So I sucked it up and tried the salad.
Mind you, the Kolbasoff salad - at least on the English menu - is described as "piquant." This is a good salad to order for your Russian friends who think that black pepper is hot so that you can have a good laugh, because - actually "this salad is pretty hot' n' spicy!" It doesn't taste half bad, either. I enjoyed eating it. Slowly. Yet as someone who truly appreciates a nice piece of lettuce, I must say I think it's almost a sin to call this dish a "salad." I might even humbly suggest that Kolbasoff could stand to add some more lettuce-y items to their salad menu. Anyway, I enjoyed giving some to Mr. Polly after warning him "be careful, it's spicy!" He tried some and said "no it's not!" About three seconds passed before he was grasping for his beer. "Nevermind! It's spicy!" Since the menu claims the beer shrimp are cooked in a spicy mash, I wanted to know if they, too, were truly spicy. There was no mash, spicy or otherwise, visible on Mr. Polly's plate of beer shrimp, and while he said they were not spicy (which means not at all, he has a very low "spice" threshold), they had apparently been prepared in some sort of tasty sauce and he liked them a lot.
We ordered two more small beers while we waited for the entrees to arrive: Duckstein amber and Hofbroeu. I was unable to discern any difference in beer taste for a while after the salad, so suffice it to say that the Hofbroeu was Mr. Polly's favorite beer of the evening, while Duckstein was his least favorite. I will take a moment to note that Kolbasoff's beer prices range from 60-320Rbs (with options of 0.33L, 0.5L and 1L) with an average 0.5 beer price of 150Rbs. Their draught selection includes a variety of German, Czech and Belgian beers, and I must say I was disappointed to see that the only bottled beers were Corona (*ahem*) and some pretend beer with no alcohol. Why oh why, when there are so many different yummy bottled beers to be had?
Our entrees arrived as promised - two large sausages each with what I presume was sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, a couple of gherkins and a marinated tomato. I say that I presume it was sauerkraut only because I have never eaten sauerkraut before, nor did I eat much of it that night. While the Kolbasoff #2 was definitely not as "firm" as the menu had led me to believe, it was obviously very fresh and handmade. Although it was not fire-in-your-mouth-hot, it was indeed spicy and tasty. Mr. Polly was extremely pleased with his choice of Kolbasoff #1, and although he has never been to Oktoberfest or Germany, he assured me that it was the real thing: authentic German sausage. He also liked the sauerkraut and enjoyed referring to what the sausages resembled. We washed the sausages down with a third round of 0.33s - Krombacher and Altitude 6 (unfiltered). We finished the evening by sharing a delicious piece of almond cake, which thankfully had no sausage in it.
The place was pretty full at eight o'clock, mostly with men gettin' their sausage on. One table nearby was served with a beautiful plate of fresh crayfish. We also noticed that you apparently may bring small dogs with you, as one young lady did that evening. While I am not an expert and tastes do vary, I understand that the following information is very important for some expat men: I would say that roughly half of the waitresses were "cute" and at least one of the cute ones was "stacked."
The manager dropped by our table to let us know that Kolbasoff will be having one more round of Oktoberfest celebrations, complete with contests and prizes, on Saturday, October 2nd. The previous festivities on September 18th were a big hit and included many a beer-related contest; including breaking open a wooden keg of beer. It's going to be packed on October 2nd, so be sure to reserve a spot!
After some reflection, I must admit that although everything we ordered at Kolbasoff was very good and presented nicely, sausages just might actually be man's food after all. I cannot speak for all women; I can only speak for myself when I say, men, you may have your sausage. I will stick with beer.