Onegin's Russion Cuisine | West Village, New York

We pick the winners at Onegin

The menu at Onegin in the West Village is a behemoth.

It follows then that not every dish at this opulent new Russian restaurant is successful. But, as with so much in gambling and dining, careful strategy can lead to ample dividends.

To begin, order salo ($12). The melting slabs of cured pork fat are what lardo would be if it wandered east and started playing nice with shots of vodka.

Then try a dish from Onegin's brick oven: golubsty ($14). Named after its traditional pigeon filling, this version features cabbage leaves rolled around a rich stuffing of chicken, beef, veal, rice and caramelized onions that's drenched in a sauce thick with tomato and sour cream. If only our grandmother cooked like this.

Dairy hounds should zero in on chicken Pozharsky ($26), a head-spinning cutlet of butter-fortified chicken and veal shellacked with rough-torn cubes of bread. After pan-frying, the butter turns liquid from the heat and pools across the plate when you slice into the cutlet.

And for dessert, handmade sour-cherry vareniki ($12), aka boiled dumplings, accompanied by a ramekin of sour cream.

A game plan never hurt anyone.

Onegin, 391 Sixth Ave. (between W. Eighth St. and Waverly Pl.); 212-924-8001 or