Hammer & Sickle: The Tour

The success of Hammer & Sickle, owned by Gene Suh of the nearby Lyndale Tap House, is simple. It's a smart menu -- unique enough to be adventurous, but with familiar flavors and enough dollops of sour cream to woo guests. They turn out well-executed, uncomplicated, consistently good-tasting food – and quite reasonably priced to boot. This Uptown vodka bar has proved an ideal place to sample tastes from all the top performers of Eastern Europe's comfort food portfolio: cabbage, potatoes, beets, meats, caviar, and, of course, vodka -- nearly seventy different varieties, including straight shots of house-infused vodkas. You get a complimentary shot when you order any single scoop of domestic caviar or when you pick three of the super fancy imported stuff. If you go, order like a pro: Skip the bar food standards in favor of the more real deal Russian fare. Go for straight-up vodka but try something you've never had before. Give yourself over to the idea that sour cream goes with absolutely everything. PHOTOS BY BENJAMIN CARTER GRIMES.

Check out our review of Hammer & Sickle in Uptown...

1300 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis