The Caviar Bar in the hotel is the place to delight a gourmet's palate. A jewel of a room that recalls the opulence of the tsars, it's decorated with crystal chandeliers and cut-crystal eggs, velvet banquettes, and marble walls that keep the temperature down. The pièce de résistance is, of course, the Caviar trolley, where four tinned varieties of the rare sturgeon roe chill on shaved ice inside a gleaming silver bowl.
Customers can order caviar by weight (and price). The service comes with the traditional smetana (sour cream), onions, chopped egg, and blini (small pancakes). A minor quibble: The pancakes arrived cool. (Have we been spoiled by the warm buckwheat blini served in New York's Russian Tea Room?) Nonetheless, the black Caspian Sea pearls were bliss on the tongue.
Since caviar and vodka go together like the Hermitage and the Winter Palace, the room's vodka sommelier offers connoisseurs a special menu with a full page of vodka varieties. There's also a "vodka degustation," with three choices to compare.
Caviar (albeit the less-pricey red variety) is also available at the hotel's vast buffet breakfast, along with a delicious array of meats, cheeses, smoked fish and herring, fruits, vegetables, croissants, bread, and cereals.
In addition to the Caviar Bar, Grand Hotel Europe also has French, Italian, and Chinese restaurants and informal dining in the mezzanine and at a sidewalk café in good weather.