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15480 Clayton Rd. Send to Phone

Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner nightly

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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Zhivago's Restaurant Review

: Yes, caviar. And yes, chicken Kiev and sturgeon and shashlik and borscht. But Zhivago's goes beyond---in directions both more and less exotic. The restaurant has been welcomed to West County. Natives flock to the large green dining room holding antique pieces and paintings mimicking Rousseau and Chagall. Dress is mostly expensive casual, a few suits balanced by a pair or two of Nikes. Zhivago's is heavy on starters and on game; 35 appetizers, plus combo platters, soups and salads to kick things off, along with warm homemade bread. The staggering list may prevent some diners from ever reaching the entrées. Borscht, thick with vegetables, is good, but the cream of porcini soup is beyond good. Venison, quail, elk and boar are often available, and the conservative can find a strip steak or wall-eyed pike. More expected are shashlik, or shish kebab, of beef, two cuts of lamb or sturgeon. Leg of lamb, a worthy dinner, is juicier and a little chewier than loin. But the king of our hearts is the Muscovy duck, not blood red, but closer to medium, and the most flavorful in town, luscious pan juices waiting to ride on nearby potato pancakes. Desserts honor the French influence in the czars' courts, and wine sold as Josef Stalin's favorite, off dry, is surprisingly complex. On the debit side, servers must be dissuaded from taking used knives from plates and putting them on the tablecloth for the next course.


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