Kramarczuk's vs. Moscow on the Hill: A battle of the borscht

Categories: Food Fight

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Yael Grauer
Borscht is hearty and filling--but where to go?
If it's good enough for Russian and Ukrainian winters, it's probably good enough for Minnesota winters. A simmering bowl of borscht is hearty, filling, and loaded with nutrients. This week, we look at variations of the beet soup in two locations: Kramarczuk's and Moscow on the Hill.

Kramarczuk's
Kramarczuk's serves East European foods of all flavors, including goulash, sauerkraut, and the delicious handmade sausages they are known for, which sell at the store next door. More of a deli than a restaurant, Kramarczuk's offers quick service: Get in line, buy your food, and sit in a booth. The decor is unassuming, though Matryoshka dolls do peek out from doorways. But the main attraction is definitely the food--perfectly seasoned and full of flavor.

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Yael Grauer
Kramarczuk's borscht is tender and flavorful.
A cup of borscht will run you $3.49, and a full bowl goes for $5.99. The soup has pork and beef, which tastes slow-cooked; it's incredibly tender. Sour cream is self-serve. Finely diced vegetables--cabbage, celery, onion, and carrots--provide a delicate melding of flavor to the beet base... and oddly enough, the beet isn't the least bit overpowering. Beet fanatics might be disappointed, but for the rest of us, this is delicious.






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Yael Grauer
Moscow on the Hill's borscht is served with plenty of dill and a dollop of sour cream.
Moscow on the Hill
Our next stop was Moscow on the Hill, just minutes from downtown St. Paul. It's actually more of a vodka lounge, with the most extensive selection of cocktails I've come across in a while. Moscow on the Hill is tastefully decorated with Russian artwork, red velvet tablecloths, opaque curtains, and elegant lighting. An accordionist entertained diners, adding to the charming yet relaxed vibe.

A bowl of borscht at Moscow on the Hill costs $4.95. Beet, cabbage, potato, fresh dill, and sour cream. The soup wasn't bad, but it was a bit too salty and not quite as filling--due in no small part to the lack of meat. It was tasty, sure, but didn't really hit the spot.

The winner
Kramarczuk's emerges as the clear winner. What Moscow on the Hill's borscht lacks in flavor, the restaurant more than makes up for in atmosphere, but perhaps we'll get a few cocktails and skip the borscht next time. Kramarczuk's borscht, however, is by far the most delicious.

Kramarczuk's
215 East Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
612.379.3018; Kramarczuk's website

Moscow on the Hill
371 Selby Ave, St Paul
651.291.1236; Moscow on the Hill website


Location Info

Venue

Map

Kramarczuks

215 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

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3 comments
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Dekabristka
Dekabristka

Meat is not what makes borsh filling! It's the cabbage and all the veggies. There are different types of borsh, Ukrainians usually use pork in it or salo.... Russians beef, or vegetarian. What makes any borsh great is adding some sour kraut to it. Oh god it's great! What puzzles me though, gourmandism aside, is where does the "t" at the end of the word "borscht" come from? With me being Russian and all, I really find it peculiar...

Anast001
Anast001

I can explain. It's an attempt to render in Latin letters the sound represented in the Cyrillic alphabet by the letter "щ" which, according to the Library of Congress transliteration system, should be reproduced in English by as many as 4 letters - "shch". So it really should be "borshch."

Dekabristka
Dekabristka

Thank you, you tought me something very interesting, indeed, today! I do appreciate it!

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