Back to USSR, a recently opened restaurant themed to mimic the days of the Soviet Union, looks more like a Soviet museum than an eatery. Orange Grill in Bensonhurst is another restaurant that offers the same style of dining experiences with beautiful upscale décor, loud music, and Russian cuisine. This type of dining experience has plagued all of Brooklyn, and recently the revolution has hit Manhattan, probably because second and third generation Russian Americans are moving out of the old Brighton Beach neighborhood and into the city.
Anyway Cafe, a popular Russian hangout, has become so trendy in Brooklyn that they opened up two locations, and eventually a third in East Village. This new addition is known, like the others, for its vodka infusions. Red cushion booths and ornaments floating above create its ambiance as you eat, drink, and socialize. The location in Gravesend, Brooklyn has a live band every Tuesday who actually sing in Italian. The patrons are largely of Russian hertitage, but you will notice an occasional “foreigner” coming in.
Onegin is a Russian restaurant that is becoming more popular amongst the wealthier and younger Russian community, as well as many other ethnic groups. It is located in the up and coming Greenwich Village, close to NYU. It has a banquet-style feast featuring a wide selection of traditional dishes including herring with potatoes, the Olivier salad, blini with red or black caviar, and homemade smetannik.
Mari Vanna, a gem on Park Avenue in Gramercy, has a ritzy mansion-like design and very authentic meals. A large, stunning glass chandelier, mismatched tableware, lace placemats, and wooden tables give it a very comfortable yet elegant feel. It, like Onegin, attracts a younger crowd. Come there Monday night, and you will see people partying as if it’s the Fourth of July.
Farther uptown, however, The Russian Tearoom “Samovar” attracts an older, more refined and renowned crowd. It has live music every night and inventively flavored vodkas such as ginger and horseradish. There is a ubiquitous Czar-like feel and sophisticated atmosphere.