April 2017

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Date night in “Old Russia”

Date night in ‘Old Russia’

You hoist wooden spoons in the air and smile politely. "Look into each other," Nina commands.

She means "gaze into your date's eyes," but in her Russian-inflected English, words have a way of coming out upside-down. Which is how you'll feel after a night in Nina's kitchen.

If you barely know your dinner date, maybe don't show up at Samovar Café. This Russian restaurant in Nikolaevsk is a small business with a big personality, and Nina K. Fefelov—your chef, host, photographer, stylist and best friend for the night—runs the show. When you step inside, you're immediately on her time and her wavelength.