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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Mom was glad the family skipped T.G.I. Friday's, went off the deep end and decided to eat Russian food during my family's visit this week. Kitezh is a wonderful, relatively new restaurant with a newly-improved menu, located down the street from Petrovka 38 (police headquarters, which meant my father, mother and brother refused to jaywalk in front of all those police cars f "We haven't done that registration stuff!" they protested).

Everyone loved the medovukha, a hot honey drink, with cognac (200 rubles or $7.14) and the dry red Georgian wine (600 rubles a bottle).

"Just because we're letting you drink here, doesn't mean we approve," Mom told my 16-year-old brother. "It's still against the law in South Carolina."

She started with borshch (95 rubles) and said it was the best beet soup she'd ever had, while the boy slurped his mushroom soup (95 rubles). Dad had a salad with mushrooms, bacon and cheese (150 rubles) and said to "tell y'all it's real good."

"Don't listen to him, Rhett eats anything," Mom said.

The soups were heavy, and when the main dishes came, Mom's eyes opened wide.

"Oh, I don't think I can do this," she said.

But she did, cleaning her plate of pork medallions (300 rubles). The teenager wolfed down his mutton on skewers (320 rubles), while Mom told him of how her daddy swore he'd never eat mutton again after having to eat it every day during the war. Dad really liked his pink trout (370 rubles). My baked white sturgeon in berry sauce (350 rubles) was also delicious.

One steaming apple strudel (120 rubles) and vanilla ice cream (35 rubles) was attacked with four forks and perished in seconds.

Kitezh's inviting interior is full of dark wooden furniture, stained glass windows, clay pots and antique books, and the restaurant's wait staff was impeccable. But most importantly, Mom was pleased. And she swore not to wait another 25 years before leaving the States again.

Kitezh is located at 23/10 Ulitsa Petrovka. Metro Chekhovskaya. Tel. 209-6685. Noon to midnight. Credit cards: V, MC.

f Elizabeth Wolfe