Vernissage Restaurant Circa 2012
The Vernissage Restaurant in Brookline MA is closed.
This was its website. The content below is from the site's 2012 archived pages and other outside sources.
Vernissage Restaurant evoked the baroque splendor of 19th century St. Petersburg with an elegant dining room and rich Eastern European cuisine. Tables could share appetizers of caviar and smoked fish before hearty entrees of beef stroganoff made with organic wheat noodles, herb-butter chicken Kiev, or grilled quail. Warm light from twinkling chandeliers filters through wine glasses and creates an air of class and sophistication, inviting diners to imagine themselves as Romanov rulers or people who read War and Peace all the way through. Though the decor and dishes showcased traditional Slavic influences, live jazz and salsa nights spoke to a contemporary New-World flair.
***** Inga P
The interesting thing about reviews is that people only bother to write if something is super great, or super terrible..., nothing in between. I think that explains lots of different opinions.... But, I can comfortably put 5 stars and here is why. I got a chance to meet the owner and get a deeper understanding of food prepared and the whole operation. I pride myself on doing a serious research before making any big decisions..., and that one was a big one. We had to trust a professional with a big party, mixed crowd ( Russians, Americans, Greek, Irish, etc. ) and being able to show off a Russian culture, food and music in a full light.
Sasha the owner and Pasha the business partner are very sweet and friendly guys, but please do not think that they take it easy and foul around. They took my request very seriously, met with me in a late hours, after work ( nice wine tasting and a free food tasting was a special treat and a nice touch, I did not expect such a generosity : ). We were able to sit down and discuss every salad, every ingredient ( yes, I am that demanding... ) and see what kind of meat, cheese , etc. will satisfy each person appetite and will not feel weird or too unusual , but be different and interesting. After all not only we came up with a full menu, it was even little bit below my budget. Win-win. More money for the tip !
We had everything - festive setting, privacy, great music, even were able to add a personal touch and play a guitar... Food galore with fantastic salads, seafood dishes, main dishes, deserts, ( fresh leafs and eel , Waldorf, Olivie, pankakes with Red Caviar, cold cuts, fish, seafood salad, fabulous baby potatoes and mushrooms. hot piroxki- with cheese ( Chachapurri ) and with lamb ( Samsa ) , beef cabob and Chicken Kiev ( I want to run back just to try it one more time ! , I am drooling just thinking about it : ))) . Sasha personally baked an amazing honey cake and decorated with fresh Orchid flowers. Everything is made fresh right then and there ( I did stop by in to a kitchen with a few questions and have seen him work ). I am a cook myself and do know the good from the bad.
Sasha is the owner and a chef, he treats guests coming in as if it would be a family coming by for dinner. He is very passionate about food and very honest when it comes to freshness and quality. He creates amazing dishes and drinks ( try Vodka with Cranberry infusion, or even bigger surprise - with fresh dill and cucumber infusion- amazing staff !!! ) Pasha is fabulous with people and is great at dealing with budget, etc. He was absolutely awesome to work with as well.
Trust me when I tell you, if you are Russian and miss homemade good quality food at affordable prices, or if you are American and/ or from any other country around the world and want to create an opinion about good food and a good service- stop by Vernissage. You will have a good experience and special memories to treasure for many years.
1627 Beacon St.
Brookline, MA 02445
Open in 1997, Vernissage Restaurant in Brookline MA, serves classic eastern European dishes with a unique modern flare. Our establishment offers an inviting yet formal atmosphere perfect for dining in elegance. Crisp linens, premium wines and attention to detail contribute to your dining experience.
Vernissage can cater functions and private parties with entertainment, cuisine, open bar, floral arrangements and your own specific needs. Vernisagge hosts live dancing and music every weekend. Also, be sure to stop in for The Vernissage’s legendary Jazz night, featuring different jazz talent every week.
Vernissage invites you to explore the unique taste of eastern European cuisine accompanied by professional service and elegant charm.
Vernissage can cater to nearly any occasion and address your specific needs. Vernissage has two dining rooms available for reservation. The dining rooms have a capacity of 60 and 35 people. We provide full service package including: food, beverages, entertainment, floral arrangements, special event decorations, bakery services and open bar.
YELP Reviews & Ratings
**** Andrew H.
Amazing atmosphere when I brought a friend here on an early week day; they had live music playing traditional Russian songs all night.
The food was exceptional, but the reduction in stars is due to the proportions... the appetizer was too large and the entree too small. This could be a result of my lack of knowledge of traditional Russian cuisine, though. The service was terrible (I felt as if they ignored me because I was American)... but that could be explained with understaffing, shorthandedness or another variable. I had fun while there, and would definitely return when I find myself in the area because it really beats the alternative BC BS.
* Greg B.
North Waltham, MA
Hate giving a 1 star review when the food deserves 4 stars and the service 3 stars ...but...
Downstairs level were we sat was empty... the 2 course dinner took 90 minutes... asked for a glass of "any dry white wine', was brought a red (though I did choose to say aything), one of the dinners was overcooked/dry ... but really that is all ok; the real problem was the 2am text messages complaining about the tip we left!
$64 pre tax total; 12 dollar tip. Not a good tip, but the service did take forever. And how dare they take my number from when I made the reservation and text to complain AND tell me to never come back; don't worry- I won't. There is a good Russian restaurant down the street in Newton...
*** An L.
Nice atmosphere. The live music was vibrant and festive, with an authentic Russian feel. Even the old couples were dancing, which was nice to see.
Cucumber salad with smoked salmon was the best part of my meal.
Mushroom blintz was ok, a bit too creamy.
Homemade pickled cabbage was not good.
Beef stroganoff, which my friend had, was somewhat dry. Buckwheat noodles were a bit too salty.
Service was good.
Awful in every way! I have been to my share of mediocre Russian restaurants, but this one clearly was the worst. Avoid!!!
Quick list of issues:
- The menu was on a hastily cut piece of paper and had 3 obvious misspellings - a bad omen of what's to come
- Appetizers arrived 5 minutes AFTER the first entree
- We ordered 5 dishes, all were clearly reheated, some to a barely lukewarm state
- Beef in the beef stroganoff was hard, like it was overcooked long ago
- The server was nice but barely around and it took us 25 minutes to get our check
- An 18% gratuity was assessed automatically on the food and the $30 cover charge for a table of two. The total bill for 2 was $111, with no drinks.
We came for the music on a Thursday night, and that seems to be how the owners draw the crowd. The musicians were great! I would not mind microwaved leftover food and bad services, but not for $20 per dish and a mandatory gratuity. The owners should be ashamed!
On top of that I left or dropped my glasses at the restaurant. I called as soon as I discovered them missing. I was told that they were found and I could pick them up the next day. What they didn't say over the phone was that they had been crushed- frames and lenses broken. I wouldn't have bothered even returning if I had known since it's a 45 minute drive one way. Fortunately I do have a reliable online store where I have ordered prescription replacement lenses. They also sell womens eyeglasses styles. The selection of frames is almost overwhelming, but I did find several that I liked. I decided to buy a pair of Jimmy Choo frames and have my prescription lens put in. I did a quick search online for the frames to compare prices and decided to buy the frames elsewhere at a lower price. Then I mailed the frames in to Eyeglasses.com and had my prescription lenses put in. In the mean time a friend has suggested a new restaurant to try, a Moldovan restaurant, not Russian this time in Newton. Well, it's sort of Russian since Moldova is a former Soviet republic. However the country is well known for its wine. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will be a better experience.
A preamble: it has taken me several weeks to properly formulate this review such that it would reflect the proper amount of derision.
Now, you must understand the psyche of my compatriots, the Russkys. Usually, if you are a part of a tight ethnic community, you tend to stick to your own and help them out as much as possible. The Russians, however, take on a different approach, which is: "they're Russian, they will understand - if we SUCK."
So, a Russian entrepreneur would like to open an upscale restaurant. Personally, seeing as I am not a specialist, I have no idea what goes into that. My guess is, neither do these people; but it's ok, becase the clients are Russian, and they will understand.
Vernissage has an upstairs dining room, decorated by an artist from the community, resulting in a pleasantly chic interior; and a downstairs bar area, which appears to only be there for show because although they advertise a full bar, it is actually mostly closed. They have intricately folded napkins and spotless white table cloths, but mismatched diner silverware, and waiters clad in T shirts, who called my parents the equivalent of "Dudes," in Russian. The menu was printed on a piece of paper in Times New Roman and folded under the place setting. Like a napkin. But it's ok, Russians. You used to live in Communism. You will understand.
I could maybe tolerate the above. But, oh, the food! It seemed like the Chef, if there is a Chef, took the day off, and they were serving yesterday's leftovers! Cold, flavorless... The eel tasted like fish oil... The beef stroganoff had started to curdle... I feel like the restaurant was skimming on buying the best and the freshest ingredients. But you know what? We Russians had worse under Communism, we will understand.
Here is the most embarrassing part. They have started advertising Jazz Thursdays - so a different live jazz band every Thursday - to Russians as well as Americans. There is a $15 cover charge (!) even if you order dinner. The few unsuspecting neighborhood Americans, who wandered in to listen to the jazz, could not enjoy the fake full bar, and since the space is a dining room with no lounge area, were seated in a row by the wall with their glass, listening to music for which they paid $15, while the rest of us attempted to choke down our fish oil.
The only reason I have given a second star is that the music was actually really good.
In conclusion. Unless you're Russian and you'll understand, I'm too embarrassed to even talk to you about this place.
**** Masha R.
Let me first say that I've never had the food here so my rating has nothing to do with that aspect.
I've been to Vernissage a handful of times for their infamous "Russian Karaoke" nights, which are usually the first Friday of every month. They're super fun and even if you don't want to go up and sing (warning: all songs are in Russian) it's still a great time- the drinks are super strong and cheap (always a plus), and the music is really fun (again mostly Russian/Eastern European... but even if you're not familiar, it's great) and after karaoke there is dancing and more drinking, of course.
It's just a fun atmosphere with lively fun people, and a great place to go if you're Russian and want to mingle with other Russians like me- or if you are just interested in immersing yourself in the culture a bit more :)
** Len G.
The quality of the food seems to have gone down from when I was there 3-4 years ago.
Why would anyone think to serve poached salmon with melted cheese in the middle?
Apparently something called Russian Sushi is cream cheese rolled with blini and topped with caviar. No one at our table liked it. Meat was way overcooked.. probably cooked earlier that day (I hope) and reheated.
The only food I liked was the napoleon cake which was very good.
Unfortunately there really isn't any good Russian food in the Boston area it seems.
* Tasha V.
Dinner at this restaurant was a nightmare. Here's why:
1) Service was rude, inattentive, and unprofessional.
2) The restaurant was careless about a gluten allergy that one of the kids at our table had.
3) Any request we made (e.g. for water or bread) was ignored the first 5 times, and would only be brought after a half hour or more, if at all.
4) Food arrived for half the people at our table somewhat on time, while for the other half it arrived AN HOUR AND A HALF later.
5) We made multiple complaints about the poor service we were getting to our waiter, other staff members, and the manager, but nothing was done to remedy the situation and no apology was given.
To sum up, DON'T GO THERE.
* mike b.
Really surprised at this place. My party of 3 walked in on a Saturday evening around 6. There was one party eating in the ground-level space, but the rest was completely devoid of life. After waiting a bit, and exiting and re-entering, someone approaches from the back. He looked puzzled.
"Do you have a reservation?"
"No, but we'd like a table for three" (the entirety of the current patrons was a party of two)
No success. He asked if we wouldn't mind eating upstairs. Confusing, but okay. He seats us and leaves. There is a group up there talking - presumably about using the space for some sort of reception in the future. We are barely acknowledged, and then left alone, and then we left. We tried to let the host know, but there was no one to be seen.
Washington Square is such a hip area in desperate need of more tables. It's always crowded on the weekend. If Vernissage doesn't want business, they should make room for someone else who does.
***** The Tough And Honest Critic O.
Great food, great atmosphere - try the nastoikas (infused vodka)! Service is friendly, not the typical Russian for Russians only joint. My friends really enjoyed everything I ordered.
* Maria R.
Poor experience in almost every way. I will start by saying that we came there for the music-which was good! As for the rest ...well it was simply BAD!
All the food was not fresh ( except maybe for the soup). The main course was cold the crepes were fried and burned, the bread rolls were made from frozen old dough (yes I can taste these things). Appetizers came after the main course, and getting the attention of the waiter was impossible. I was there with my husband and they charged us gratuity for a table of two!
Would not go back!
Oh...and the bathroom had a flood on the floor!
*** P M.
I was just there with a small group. This was a first for me in a Russian Restaurant. The soup was alright but the dessert was awesome!! Surprised that there was just another couple besides us the entire period from 6-8:30pm, which says that the business may not be doing well...well cannot say, it's just one day..how ever, am not a meat eater, so not much food choices, would probably not come back!
Comment from Aleksandras v. of Vernissage
7/13/2012Dear customer, thank you for your review. This is a regular thing for our place not to be busy in July , Our menu is made according the most of our guests demand, for every taste. We carry fresh and hard to buy fish choices as well as some vegetarian salads, soups and hot appetizers. your server probably could not give you right explanation. We'll improve and please check back with us later. Also our website will give you a full picture of restaurant , for those who has never been here before, helping to make a right choice.
We wish you all the best.
***** Lina U.
I would like to start by saying that this was not my first time here.. However, this was the first time I personally hosted a party for 30 people.
I booked my birthday party 2 weeks before the event. The gentleman that called me to discuss my reservation was very pleasant on the phone. Very professional and knowledgeable in regards to the menu and logistics of the event. I had quite a few questions, being type A personality.. Wanted everything to go perfectly. He stayed very pleasant through the entire ordeal, not getting annoyed and really seeming interested to do everything just as I wanted it.
When we got there on Friday, the place was set up and ready to go. The food was fabulous, which we already knew since this wasn't the first time dining here. We had 2 people in our group who are festing, and the waiter made sure that they had "their" food near them, and plenty of it, and exactly how they needed it to be (I guess there are a lot of restrictions during the fast). There was a ton of food left over, which was all packed up for us at the end of the night... nice surprise. We have some big eaters in our group, so any leftovers were a shock.. Which only shows that their portions are huge. We ended up eating leftovers for 2 more days. Whoever wrote in earlier posts that there was too much dill and the food was heavy.. Obviously you haven't eaten Russian food before. It's like saying Indian food has way too much curry in it and smells different. Everything was great.. Hot foods were served hot, the cold apps and fruit were served cold, just like it's supposed to be. The chicken and pork shishkabobs were awesome!!! The salads were fresh and perfectly seasoned. Everyone raved about the white fish in cheese sauce! My favorite thing of the evening was the napoleon!!! (sucker for sweets) TO DIE FOR!!!
The waiter, who happened to be the same guy that I killed w questions on the phone, was awesome. Very efficient, polite and around when we needed him. Really just nothing but a pleasure to deal with. Plus it made me feel good that he at least got paid for answering all my concerns.
Bottom line.. Definitely recommend this place. We ate, drank and danced all night!! All my guests left extremely happy, which was the whole point of the party. Unlike some of the other Russian restaurants in Boston, they really care about their quests... If you have questions, requests or if Russian food is not something you're accustomed to... Ask questions.. They seem more than happy to help!! Oh, and do try the salad with dill.. It really IS good!!! :)))
* Jenny G.
Stay away from this place! My 85-year old grandmother booked the top floor room for her birthday party on a Saturday night. The party started at 6pm, and from the beginning the service was completely disorganized (the bread didn't come out to join the appetizers for about an hour, despite repeated requests, and this is just one example.) By 10:30 p.m., the main course had still not been served, so we requested that it be cancelled and we be given a small discount (10%) off the price. The owner rudely refused, called us names, and told me that he would call the cops if we did not pay the whole bill. I did not think he was serious, but indeed, a short while later the POLICE CAME, and he told them we were unwilling to pay. I did not want to further upset my grandmother, and even though by then most of the guests had left, and the main course was STILL not served, I agreed to pay the full amount based on the argument that we would take it to go. But when we got home, the main course was not in the to-go bags that were packed. In other words, we paid the $70 per person fee, without having gotten the most expensive part of the meal - the meat. I stress, do not go to this place. total scammers.
***** Howe L.
I've been here twice for the Live Music, and I've had an AMAZING time. Yes, the place is a little expensive, but the live music is free and the "house vodka" is as smooth/authentic as it gets. The singers are incredible, and you know you're having a great time when you're doing Russian dances with 80 year olds. The food as well, was delicious - everything from the rabbit to the beet soup. Highly recommended for a group night out.
* Rebecca S.
A uniquely bizarre experience, which I hope never to replicate. We went for the Valentine's Jazz brunch- let me say firstly, that the trio of female singers were top-notch- no complaints there!!!
We waited and waited at the entrance to the restaurant for a good 10 minutes, being summarily ignored by the wait-staff (who were in fairness running as fast as they could, all 2 of them) before we were shown to our seats. Another 40 minutes or so (I kid you not) and we got water at our table and our order was taken, while multiple other couples waited and left after giving up, when also continuously ignored by the waiters (increased in number to 4). Two other couples were seated next to us in our charming little nook (the place has nice ambiance)...and we were all in the same boat...by the time we got our food, almost 2 hours later, it was STONE cold, (or some it it luke-warm- in perfect danger zone for growth of harmful bacteria, that could lead to a really bad night.) Completely. We sent it back 4 times- each time it was as cold as before...the other tables next to us had exactly the same experience. The waiter said chef had re-heated it, but refused to test the temperature himself. Fourth time back, the latkes were indeed warmish, but so greasy as to be completely inedible. At this point, almost 3 hours into our venture, we had nothing edible presented to us, not even bread we'd requested, and just said we would leave- the music was well over, and there was no point in any belief of redemption. Although we had nibbled at the two dishes out of 8 total that were supposed to have been presented to us, we were still charged for a full meal (only for one of us, not both, at least!)
There was no effort at explanation or apology by the waitstaff- they obviously had not prepared adequately and did not have experienced staff- what a shame- there were people there celebrating their 25th and 43rd wedding anniversaries...charming area, but this is certainly no draw to the area. Maybe it's different on a non-event night, but I've read that's one of their specialties...ahrumph. We eventually went to Upper Crust and got a GREAT pizza- although we were so starved that most anything would have been good at that point- we were even eyeing Dunkin' Donuts as we left- happy Valentine's Day!!!
****Happy Eater B.
Delicious! The server was very nice and helpful -- I think it helped that one of the people at our table spoke fluent Russian.
We started the meal with the complimentary rolls -- they were excellent, noteworthy, above average dinner rolls.
A few of us tried some vodka - very nice for vodka, though I am not much of a vodka drinker. They have some flavor infusions that were interesting.
The meal itself was delicious. My wife felt the items were a little heavy, but that is something I appreciate, and I loved everything I tried. I'm not sure what we ordered (our Russian-speaking friend did all the ordering) but each of the four or five dishes was terrific.
***** Snowmade S.
West Newton, MA
I took 40 of my classmates from the MBA program for a night of dinner and dancing here this past August for the first time. We are a very international crowd with folks from all over the world, but no matter the nationality, everyone enjoyed the night! The restaurant's management worked closely with us to prepare a customized menu and make sure there were vegetarian options. My classmates and I had such a great time there that we wanted to have another night this spring.
We went back last week (this time there were 50 of us) and had a wonderful night yet again on the first floor that was reserved for us. The food was fantastic, the selection appealed to everyone's tastes, the cranberry-infused vodka was delicious, the staff was extremely attentive and efficient and everyone really enjoyed themselves! I highly recommend this place for large groups of people, especially if you want to show your friends or colleagues a glimpse of Russian culture!
**** Martin F.
We were a party of 4,and it was a first for all of us. It was a jazz night and the restaurant was full. Service was a bit slow, but the food was very good, the service quite professional, and they were very anxious to please. We can recommend the homemade borscht, the mushroom blintzes, the potato dumplings, and the chicken kabobs. The kabob portion was more than the two who had it could finish, and the other portions were generous. The music was fun.
Russian Food and Vodka Tasting, With Games, at Vernissage Reviews & Ratings
GoldStar Reviews | www.goldstar.com
***** Review from Leonardino
38 events • 11 reviews
Well-organized event, with great food and a dynamic hostess. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to become more familiar with Russian culinary traditions!
reviewed Aug 07 2011
*** Review from goldtraveler
The food was great and the hostess was nice. I think it could have been better organized. Food came toward the end. I would like to have had small courses throughout the night. Also, the evening started with vodka drinking. I was left with a headache. I, too, would have liked to learn more about the culture and music and felt there were too many children's games.
reviewed Nov 06 2011
**** Review from Gem_in_I
This tasting was very informative, more than I had expected about the culture and history. It was fun with games, but there was no music portion, which I was looking forward to. The employee of the restaurant (perhaps the owner) was very friendly and informative before the event started. He single handedly served everything to our group which was also impressive. We will definitely go back to this restaurant on a regular night to experience the atmosphere, as we are told it is quite active! The event host was very informative, with a lot of knowledge about the food and traditions. Also she does walking tours of the area and pointed out where we could find some of the things we were presented with. We actually went to the Russian store down the road to take a look and get some things! There was a great variety of things provided by both the restaurant and host. If you are interested at all in different cultures and especially russian culture I would advise this event. Having a dynamic group helps. The only disappointment was not being able to taste the extremely interesting flavors of infused vodka they had there. And that there was no music. Would definitely recommend this event and I'm likely going to do one of these walking tours in the future. Not advised for vegetarians as the main portions of the meal do have meat.
reviewed Aug 07 2011
***** Review from susie v
Very fun event while actually learning interesting info about Russian history... charming host Yuri made it enjoyable, the other attendees were very friendly, and the food was great !
reviewed Oct 02 2011
***** Review from Abha
This was so informative and fun! What a great way to learn about Russian culture!
reviewed Oct 02 2011
**** Review from Goldstar Member
I really enjoyed this event. It was informative and the food was very good. Downfalls (in my opinion). There were no drinks offered until about an hour into the event. A bar to purchase drinks at would have been great, or even a pitcher of water on the table would have been good! The vodka "tasting" was only 1 shot of vodka. There was no music as stated in the ticked event. Even a CD of Russian music during the food course (which started at 4pm for the 2-5 event) would have been nice.
reviewed Dec 04 2011
**** Review from Barbara
Our hostess/guide (who's name escapes me) was excellent. A native of Russia, she was thorough in her explanations of history and customs as they related to the cuisine. She involved us in a variety of games including Russian trivia. Overall the...continued
reviewed Feb 05 2012
*** Goldstar Member
Review from Goldstar Member
When it says vodka tasting, it means one shot of vodka. They serve pickles with the vodka, which is nice, but that's the only food you get for the first two hours so don't come too hungry! Food is served family-style and it was very tasty. The trivia and information was fun, and it was an over-all enjoyable experience, but not quite what I had expected.
reviewed Apr 01 2012
** Review from Goldstar Member
I thought I would hear a lot more history about Russia and the different regions, how vodka is made, etc. Instead we played games like trivia as well as a game like Battleship. I was not prepared to play a children's game. The food was good but I thought there would be more variety with the food. I didn't think it was worth the money at all.
reviewed Oct 02 2011
*** Review from Christina
The "tour guide" was great and shared lots of interesting information with us. However, we were only given one shot of vodka to taste and only tasted 4 or 5 foods. I think that they kind of skimped because it wasn't a full house. I did expect more including some Russian music and more food. The waiter was very friendly
reviewed Feb 05 2012
***** Review from l_tory
This is a great way to learn about Russian food, drinks and games! The event lasts 3 hours, during which a nice and very knowledgeable tour-guide tells us all about Russian traditions and answers our questions. There were several types of vodka to try, cool traditional Russian food (e.g., buckwheat, dumplings, borshch..), quizzes, and several fun Russian games to play. Overall, great Sunday afternoon activity with friends
reviewed Jan 13 2013
JAZZ NIGHTS 2012
"JAZZ THURSDAYS AT VERNISSAGE"
Beyep Pycckoso Pomahca
1627 Beacon St. Brookline MA $10