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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


I've always hated Russian cuisine," said the Russian, his mouth full. But 1 Red Square is capable of altering such discriminating taste. Centrally located - on Red Square, inside the museum of the same name - the restaurant has a new menu full of delicious fare and an ambitious dose of authenticity, with some recipes taken straight from museum archives.

The waiter impressed us from the start with his patience - it took a full 20 minutes to navigate the novel-thick menu, with each listing accompanied by a short testimony to its tsarist-era authenticity. Finally, we gave up our right to choose, followed the waiter's recommendations and sat back to listen to the duet of entertainers in peasant garb strumming a potpourri of traditional Russian, Gypsy and Soviet cinema music.

We started with freezer-fresh venison (280 rubles), eel with red caviar (392 rubles) and pirozhki, or pies, with meat, mushrooms or brain (14 rubles each). By the time the puree soups came - the 18th-century Bagrateon Soup with macaroni (280 rubles) and the chicken-based Tsar's Soup (196 rubles) - my Russian guest had been won over by his own national cuisine.

And I was won over by Russian beverages: kvas (56 rubles for 1 liter), two shots of kedryatch, a cedar-based liqueur, and a heavenly myedovukha, a surprisingly potent alcoholic drink made from honey (42 rubles for 250 grams).

My duck in berry sauce (336 rubles) was delectable enough to forgive its garnish of canned fruit, and my guest quickly polished off his ham with string beans (392 rubles).

The hot, fruit-covered Gurevsky Kasha (280 rubles) was too sugary for him, but satisfied my sweet tooth. "Would they have had kiwi two centuries ago?" he asked, his Russian intuition surfacing. (Note taken of the restaurant's breach of accuracy.)

So, do order the honey drink - and do take a Russian.

1 Red Square is located at 1 Red Square. Metro Ploshchad Revolyutsii. Tel. 925-3600. Noon to midnight. Credit cards: all.

- Elizabeth Wolfe