In stark contrast to Bhutanese food, the Belorusian restaurant we found in south Brooklyn far exceeded our expectations. Granted, our expectations for Syabri Restaurant were pretty dang low, so they had a lower starting point. First off, the whole ambiance was amazing & the neighborhood was great. There were women walking around that looked like post-soviet grannies doing their Christmas shopping. Pretty much every sign was in English and Russian. Or just Russian.
The Belarus flag was prominently displayed in the restaurant and Belorusian language television was blasting.
I was very pleasantly surprised to see that there were several vegetarian items on this delightful menu. Apparently they are very into mushrooms in Belarus. As evidenced by:
Neil had Kolduni which was described as hashbrowns with boiled chicken inside. Turns out, that’s just what it was.
For dessert we ordered what our waiter, who recently came to the U.S. from Belarus, described as “ice cream with French fries.” For some reason, we still ordered it, and it was really quite delectable.
Some of the reasons this restaurant, while scrumptious, may be a money laundering front for the mafia:
- They have an omelette on the menu named after Alexander Lukashenko
- Lukashenko is rumored to have eaten at this restaurant, and is a ruthless dictator
- Belarus has been described as a “virtual mafia state”
- There were no other customers the entire time we were there
- The only exception to #3 were a bunch of burly stern slavic looking men who came in, ate, but mysteriously left without paying
Our waiter was an extremely large human being. It turns out he was a famous water polo player in Belarus. Apparently it is very popular there. He moved to the U.S. to try to coach and is working at a restaurant/learning English. I asked him what was different about the U.S. and he said “everything.”
Alexander Lukashenko (of omelette fame) has been the president of Belarus since 1994. This long stint was brought about by several shady tactics including extending term limits for the president and eliminating them altogether. Lukashenko has described himself as having an “authoritarian ruling style.”
Mafia front, or no, this restaurant was delightful. вельмі смачна!