Hunted to virtual extinction during the microwave era, spice has
Russian Restaurants in NYCFrom Russia with Love
It’s said that when Napoleon retreated from Russia, he brought the Russian winter with him. Hopefully he brought back some recipes as well because the rich, hearty diet of potato, cream, meats, and root vegetables is perfect for warming the belly. Now, 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, France and Russia are friends again, at least in the kitchen, where aristocratic elegance has reasserted itself alongside the beets. Today, Galavante embraces a couple of its favorite comrades – and leaves the cold outside.
Named for a mythical babushka famous for hospitality, Mari Vanna is owned by Brooklyn Nets owner Mr. Prokhorov and is a declared favorite of Maria Sharapova. The interior is rich with a woman’s touch – if that woman were the czar’s grandmother. Trinkets, tchotchkes, matryoshka dolls, and bookshelves of Russian literature fill the two dining areas under ornate chandeliers. The menu offers elegant interpretations of classics like veal dumplings, chicken stroganoff, and pan-seared branzini. Bring a Russian model and get 20 percent off your bill.
41 East 20th St., 212-777-1955, marivanna.ru/ny
The next time any of your Russian friends asks if you’ve read Pushkin, bring them to this opulent restaurant in Greenwich Village, which features snippets of the master’s poetry quill-scrawled on the walls and ceilings. Your friend will have to translate them, but not the menu of gourmet Russian-fusion dishes like blini with paddlefish black caviar, stuffed cabbage leaves, and a vodka-infused fisherman’s stew. Many of the dishes are cooked in an authentic pechka, a wood-burning furnace traditionally used to heat a czar’s palace. If you need a bit more warmth, order a shot of honey-pepper vodka, served at a bar made of 200-year-old Ukrainian birch.
391 Sixth Ave., 212-924-8001, oneginnyc.com