wrote yesterday, I was recently invited by Andrei Birsan, the owner of Vins Distributors, a wholesaler of Moldovan wines, as a media guest to taste some of his portfolio, as well as to experience Moldovan cuisine at the Moldova Restaurant in Newton. At the dinner, we were joined by Artur Andronic, who owns the restaurant with his wife Sandra.
Artur and Sandra are natives of Moldovas and they initially opened an Italian restaurant in Newton but quickly realized it just wasn't for them. They decided instead to open a Moldovan restaurant, celebrating their heritage, which would also be the only such restaurant in Massachusetts. Hiring a Moldovan chef, they also received much input from their families about the cuisine and recipes, and finally opened in April 2016. It turned out to be an excellent decision as this is a restaurant you need to experience, to enjoy Moldovan cuisine and the warm hospitality of Artur and Sandra.
The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner, and is a relatively small, but comfortable spot. The bright colors and designs on the walls are aesthetically pleasing, and include a map to give you a better idea of the geography of Moldova. Artur was a gracious host, personable and knowledgeable, and it was a pleasure to dine with him and learn more about Moldovan cuisine. Though I've previously enjoyed Moldovan wines, I'd never before had their cuisine so this was a welcome experience.
The Dinner Menu has a compact range of diverse choices, including: Appetizers (5 choices, $7.95-$11.45), such as CLĂTITE CU GĂINĂ ȘI CIUPERCI (Chicken and mushrooms crepes) and FASOLIȚĂ (Bean paste with caramelized onions); Soup & Salad ($6.45-$8.95), such as ZEAMĂ (Heart warming chicken soup with homemade noodles) and SALATĂ DE VARZĂ (Fresh cabbage salad with scallions, parsley and olive oil); Placinte La Tiger (5 choices, $7.95-$8.95), a traditional pan-fried pie with various fillings); Entrees (3 choices $16.45-$17.95), such as FRIPTURĂ DE GĂINĂ (Roasted chicken, stewed in broth with onions and garlic, served with pickled vegetables and traditional polenta with feta cheese and sour cream on the side); and Chef's Specials, (3 choices $18.95-$24.95), such as CÂRNĂCIORI DE GĂINĂ (Grilled chicken sausages, served with fresh cabbage salad, baked potato topped with sour cream and scallions, pickles and home made hot sauce on the side); Sides (5 choices at $5.45-$8.95), such as CARTOFI ȚĂRĂNEȘTI (Country style pan fried potatoes with onions and herb); and Desserts (2 choices at $8.95-$9.45).
Though the full menu is also available for Lunch, there is a Lunch Special ($10.95) which includes: Soup or Salad, plus a Side & Entree or a Pie, with a nonalcoholic drink.
The first dish was the SARMALE ($16.45), cabbage and grape leaves, stuffed with rice, chicken, tomatoes, carrots, fried onions and herbs, and served with sour cream. Please note that the above Sarmale was only made with grape leaves and not cabbage. The rice plays the prominent role in this dish, and with the chicken it is a very traditional and inexpensive Moldovan dish, especially prepared by the women in the household, and they are always served at Moldovan parties. These were delicious, with a slight crunch to the grape leaves and plenty of flavorful filling, with lots of rice and finely chopped chicken and veggies. They make for a tasty snack and pair well with white wine.
The Moldova Restaurant is unique and interesting, with plenty of diverse and delicious food. Much of it is comfort food, sure to please your palate and belly. The welcoming vibe of the spot is also a compelling reason to visit. Plus, the fact they carry Moldovan wine makes a visit more of a total Moldovan experience. Kudos to Artur and Sandra Andronic for opening this restaurant, indicative of their passion for Moldova. I strongly encourage my readers to check out the Moldova Restaurant for lunch or dinner.