Sunday, March 5, 2017


Once upon a time, near Madison Square Garden, there existed one of NYC's few branches of Yogurtland. We had tried Yogurtland out in the LA area, really liked it, and were very excited when this branch opened close to us. They gave out samples all the time and the yogurt was good, but they never seemed particularly crowded so it was disappointing but no surprise when they closed down. That disappointment subsided somewhat when news broke that the location was going to be transformed into NYC's first branch of the Russian fast casual chain, Teremok, specializing in bliny and other casual Russian eats.

Teremok opened a little over a year ago, but we never made it there until this weekend. I was originally going to walk down on Inauguration Day for lunch, but decided that might not be the most fitting for a resistance meal. Anyway, we finally made it there when our original plan (hoping that the naked chicken chalupa was still at Taco Bell) fell through, and were confronted with tons of options for bliny, soup, kasha, and more.

The wind chill outside was in the teens all afternoon, so we really wanted soup. When we were looking at the menu earlier in the day before braving the cold, A was really intrigued by the salmon chowder, uha, so we lucked out that it was part of the daily 25% off special. Since we were up for trying just about anything, we also decided to go with the sunrise bliny that was also part of the daily special.

The salmon chowder was made with smoked salmon, carrots, chives, parsley and other herbs, and a cheesy, creamy broth, and came with thin housemade chips on the side. The soup was rich while still feeling light. It reminded me a little bit of a soup I had made previously (also a salmon chowder), but I didn't realize that until later when we were walking around and discussing the flavors of this soup. There wasn't a lot of smokiness from the smoked salmon, but that's because a lot of that flavor was stewed into the soup. The herbs gave the soup a nice freshness and tied everything together. The chips were delicious, but neither of us could figure out what they were made of. They were really light and crisp, and they were the perfect complement to the soup.

We've only had bliny a couple of times before, so we're not experts, but they're similar to crepes. (They actually have a sign in the restaurant talking about the differences between bliny and crepes, how texturally they're a little different, but it's probably the closest way to describe it for those unfamiliar with it, just like people call the Chinese jian bing a Chinese crepe.) The way they describe it on their website, they're like Russian pancakes made with flour batter, eggs, and milk, and stuffed with sweet or savory fillings.

We got the sunrise bliny, which was technically a breakfast bliny but served all day, which had eggs, Swiss cheese, and a choice of meat as the filling. The options were bacon, ham, and sausage, so we went with bacon, like a Russian version of a BEC. The eggs, bacon, and cheese were fine and well-flavored, not too salty which was nice, but the real star of it was the pancake exterior. Soft with just the right amount of chewiness, it was exactly what we were hoping for.

We really enjoyed our lunch at Teremok. It was more filling than we expected, even though we split both the soup and the bliny since our next stop was for doughnuts. Based on our first time there, we would definitely return to try more of the menu.

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