Restaurant “Rimon”/Ресторан «Римон»
8 (499) 623-50-12
Большой Спасоглинищевский переулок 10 (closest metro: Китай-Город)
Sunday through Thursday: 11:00 to 23:00
meals starting from $6
meat; under the supervision of the Chief Rabbinate of Russia (R’ Adolf Shayevich)
I was not planning to visit Rimon that night, but it happened to be the kosher restaurant closest by metro to Kazanskaya Station, where I had just bought my tickets to Petersburg. My friend Alex was game for joining me on my culinary adventures, so we went there together. I had meant to take him, or anyone who does not hold be Jewish dietary law, to one of Moscow’s trendier kosher eateries, places polished of anything that might sit strangely with the unacquainted. Prepared for the possibility of Jewish culture shock, Alex and I headed to Kitai-Gorod for dinner. The visit went so well that I came back here for seconds.
Rimon is located inside the Moscow Choral Synagogue, whose grand neo-classical front on Bol’shoy Spasoglinischevski pereulok cannot be missed. After passing through main entrance, one turns right, then climbs the stairs to the door with a sign for the restaurant. The dining room is conservative and tasteful, an airy space with brass lights, paintings of shtetl-life covering the walls. Upon entering, Alex was afraid that this place as too nice to be an affordable restaurant, and insisted to see the menu before we sat down; fortunately, his panic was unjustified. As for seating arrangements, there are only tables for four, varying in the arrangement of the chairs. When we got there at 6:30 PM on a weeknight, the place was rather empty, with only two other tables occupied; when I returned by myself a few weeks at a similar hour, Rimon was similarly full, them emptied out for evening services. In short, one should not have any problem finding a table here or dealing with noise.
The food at Rimon tastes great, and considering the quality and quantity of its dishes, comes at a good value. On my first visit, I had a regular Coca Cola (110 rubles for 250 mL; it seems that they make the most profit on drinks), окрошка (150), baba ghanoush (180), and chicken schnitzel (340) with mashed potatoes (120) and horseradish (60). Much to my surprise, the Coke came with ice, something that had never happened to me in Russia. The окрошка, a cold квас soup containing eggs, cucumbers, potatoes, and radishes, had the right amount of tang and crunch. The baba ghanoush, served with pomegranate seeds and toast, was fresh but overpriced. The shnitzel was tasty and chewy, coated in matzo meal; served with a silky potato purée and and sweet-but-spicy red horseradish, it proved satisfying. Alex ordered a Vittel (110 for 250 mL; also served with ice), харчо (240; “very hearty” Georgian lamb soup), and chicken шашлык in lavash (400; “Mediterranean”), which he seemed to enjoy. On my second trip there, I ordered tarkhun (120 for 300 mL), coleslaw (140), pita with falafel (180), and two слоеные pastries (35 each). The coleslaw, made of shredded carrots, cabbage, and celery, was fresh, crunchy, and delicately marinated. The falafel was unlike any I had tried before, just barely fried, leaving a soft, contiguous interior; the pita encasing them also held a cool Israeli salad. The слоеный пирожок containing cabbage was sweet; that with mushrooms was savory. Both times I felt full after the meal.
I found the service at Rimon a little spotty, but fine overall. Both times I visited, I had to get the staff’s attention to take a seat (not that this turned out badly, however. When I went with Alex, for example, one of the other customers took the effort to seat us. The two of us exchanged contacts and stayed in touch; I ended up going to him for Shabbos twice and getting to know the Moscow Choral Synagogue and its affiliated educational institutions. Alex, on the other hand, only had the pleasure of charging this man’s iPhone with his laptop). That said, they were quick to take orders and served the food after hardly any wait. In this sense, Rimon projected a familiar, heimish environment, despite the fancy table settings and impeccable decoration. I suppose that these quirks give it the character of a kosher restaurant, and overall I was impressed. In all the best ways, Rimon is an authentically Russian-Jewish establishment.
For groups and faculty-led tours, Rimon could reasonably accommodate you, providing a distinctive cultural experience. Prices are mid-range, as far as Moscow restaurants go, and there are some great deals to be had simply by scanning the menu. A stop here could be a nice way to finish a visit to the Moscow Choral Synagogue.