Robert's Russian Cuisine, located in a small strip mall on La Brea in Hollywood, isn't the type of place you'd necessarily drive by and say 'hm, I'd like to eat there.' It's more the kind of place you drive by and think 'hm, I believe many blond Russian girls are probably fed much vodka there before returning to either the nightclub or the spy movie from whence they came.' It turns out, as I did go in last night, that the latter is not entirely untrue. The brightly lit restaurant was full at midnight with tables of Russian men and their very blond women, consuming shot for shot from bottles of the good stuff. Stuff, I should mention, that was not on the menu alongside the $4 glasses of wine. I guess it's BYOV. But it turns out that they do serve food there too. And the menu's quite extensive.
The food: From Tongue to Frog Legs to Beef Stroganoff, the menu reads like a laundry list of everything I've never tried in my life. With the exception of hummus. And who knew the Russians and the Israelis shared such incredibly good taste.
The service: I can't say enough wonderful things about our gray-haired Russian waiter who wore many large rhinestoned rings, had only half a thumb on one hand, and spoke nearly no English at all. But did know enough to explain that the Armenian coffee we ordered after dinner was 'sexy coffee.' 'Why sexy,' we asked. 'Because it keeps you up all night. All you can do is have sex.' Well, naturally. I will say this for the shots of coffee we consumed--they were goopy, and almost impossible to swallow, and in every way spectacular.
The verdict: Don't go to Robert's for the food or the atmosphere. Do consider, however, going to chat with the waiters. They are highly entertaining even if their capacity for conversation does not exceed sex or coffee.