In Russia, a chain serving traditional Russian fare dukes it out with the likes of McDonald’s and KFC — and now it’s coming to the US. In 1998, Mikhail Goncharov was inspired by the immense popularity of McDonald’s in his home country and decided to start a fast-food chain, Teremok, which serves Russian classics instead of burgers and fries.
We visited one of the New York City locations to see how good it really is. Following is a transcript of the video.
Emmanuel Ocbazghi: This is the McDonald’s of Russia. It started in 1998 and today there are more than 300 locations in Russia. It’s called Teremok and it just planted its flag in the states. I went to one of the New York City locations to see if it could live up to the hype.
The inside of Teremok looked pretty chill, it looks like your typical fast-casual restaurant. Price-wise, Teremok was a little bit more expensive than McDonald’s, but most of the plates range from $7-$10. I ordered a ton of food off the menu including the Butcher’s Block.
The Butcher’s Block is stuffed with mashed potatoes, fried onions, bacon, and pickles. It’s surrounded by this very sweet crepe, pancake, wrap thing. It’s pretty spongy. The sweetness of the pancake surrounding actually meshes really well with the savory flavors that are inside. It’s a really interesting combination of textures that I wasn’t expecting but it’s really good.
So one of the more traditional meals that they have is called the Red Stars. It actually has a bunch of caviar eggs in it, I don’t know if you can see. The wrap, in general, has a very fishy taste to it. I’m not a fan of seafood so this wouldn’t really be my go-to choice but it’s really not that bad.
They also have the Say Cheese which is just a wrap filled with cheese and as you can guess it’s pretty delicious. As far as side dishes go you can order these dumpling-like things called pelmeni or pelmeni. They’re really oily but it’s filled with some kind of meat and it’s pretty tasty.
So the most traditional dish that they have at Teremok is what’s called Kasha. It has a buckwheat base to it and you can fill it up with your choice of either Frankfurt hot dogs, chicken, ground beef — they have a few options available. This is probably my least favorite dish. It’s just like grain and hot dogs on top of it and for the price I’d rather just get a hot dog like on any street corner.
Overall I really liked it. It’s being called the McDonalds of Russia but honestly it’s higher quality food than that. They only have two locations in the States but I would not be surprised to see these restaurants start to pop up in cities all over the country.