Russians Take Over Thanksgiving Turkey Duty

APA number of Moscow restaurants will offer a holiday turkey dinner Thursday.
The American Chamber of Commerce has no plans to show its thanks. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow will have neither turkey nor trimmings.

This Thanksgiving, in a true display of intercultural understanding, Russians will be the ones to provide the festive victuals to wishbone-and-cranberry-sauce-starved Americans, for repasts both in the company of other turkey gobblers and in the privacy of one's own expat colony.

Who needs the watery gravy and canned-pumpkin pie of American tradition anyway when you can dine like a royal pilgrim at the Ritz-Carlton? Fancy-folksy Russian restaurant Caviarterra on the first floor of the five-star hotel will temporarily transform its dining surfaces Thursday into deluxe versions of the typical American dinner table. All the standards so mysteriously absent from most Moscow grocery stores will take their proper places, from green beans in a surely chichi casserole to candied yams to roasted bird with apple-and-sage stuffing and even candied pecans alongside slices of pumpkin pie. For these culinary treasures, you barely even have to supplement a single Ben Franklin: the three-course feast will cost 2,700 rubles a head.

For only a slightly less sumptuous spread, go to Navarro's just outside the Garden Ring, where turkey plays the starring role beside as-yet-unknown side dishes (they promise the usual suspects). Head chef Yuri Navarro is well-known for providing succulent sustenance, and, tailored for those who enjoy the feeling of loosening their belts after a meal, these delectable viands will be provided buffet-style, meaning that for 1,350 rubles that first plate can become just one in a stack beside you.

Every homesick U.S. native's favorite high-end kitsch-and-grease joint Starlite Diner will also be featuring large game all day Thursday, as well as cranberry sauce, pumpkin soup with chervil, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and more. Their offer to outfit a table for ten with its own turkey and fixings for 10,000 rubles allows you to simultaneously indulge in the drollness of eating in a diner on a sacred family holiday while still surrounding yourself with the illusion of a self-made meal. Plus no in-laws!

You can also shift that illusion one step closer to reality by taking out the Starlite turkey for 10, with all the appropriate sides, for the same price -- just give them 48 hours notice and they'll produce the package on Thanksgiving Day. Surrogate chef services are also being touted by New York native Isaac Correa's self-titled institution, where 7,000 rubles will provide eight to 10 people the requisite main dish, filled, however, with the auxiliary sides of Italian sausage and foccacia stuffing. Other accompaniments include corn on the cob and an entire home-style apple pie (as in deep-dish American style instead of the bready Russian variety). Order and pay by today, and the ready-made banquet will be available for pickup Thursday.

The freezer section at Stockmann over at the Smolenskaya metro station used to be the standby for those willing to wait until Saturday or call in sick Thursday to roast a turkey themselves, but even the powerful fields of benevolent energy between cultures generated by Thanksgiving have not been able to return the Finnish company to its former location, lost in April after a dispute with their landlord. The almighty ranks of the Russian oligarchy have predictably swooped in to take its place, with high-end grocery Globus Gourmet (started in part by restaurant tsar Arkady Novikov) able to provide all the raw ingredients of a classic late-November repast nearly 5,000 kilometers from its origin. Get a whole 5-kilogram bird minus feathers and gizzard for about 4,500 rubles delivered by Globus's Vantage service, or swing by one of their stores to pick it up so that you can grab sweet potatoes (259 rubles per kilo), green beans (175 rubles per half-kilo) and cranberries (602 rubles per kilo) along with other assorted native and non-native gourds (pumpkin, butternut squash) and what must be the most expensive uncooked potatoes in the city (250 rubles per kilo).

Caviarterra is located on the first floor of the Ritz-Carlton hotel: 3 Tverskaya Ul. M. Okhotny Ryad. 225-8888.

Navarro's is located at 23 Shmitovsky Proyezd, bldg. 4. M. Ulitsa 1905 Goda. 8 (499) 259-3791.

Starlite Diner has four locations, addresses for which can be found on their web site: www.starlite.ru.

Correa's also has multiple locations, addresses for which can be found on their web site: www.correas.ru.

Globus Gourmet's Vantage delivery service can be found on the web at www.vantagelife.ru and can be reached by phone at 661-4604.