Olympic Village visitors in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Games are finding Salad Olivier, sometimes called Russian salad, served at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The meaty, refreshing potato salad is most often made for holidays and special occasions. It is said to have been created by a chef named Olivier who ran a restaurant in mid-19th-century Moscow.
The version you’ll find at Mari Vanna in downtown Washington is an elegant one, served in a footed cut-glass bowl. Executive chef Azamat Zhanizakov uses halved quail eggs, a Russian brand of bologna and house-made pickles; the vegetables and meat are cut into small, uniformly sized cubes and dressed with a mixture of mayonnaise and sour cream.
If you have a chance to stop into the restaurant, try the sour cherry vareniki, which are small, stuffed dumplings in a light syrup. They’re a current hit in Sochi, too.
Mari Vanna, 1141 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202 783-7777.