The Russian Tea Roomin Manhattan is a dining institution and deservedly so, from the luxurious interior design to the exquisite menu and impeccable service your visit to the restaurant is bound to be a memorable one.
I dreamt of going to The Russian Tea Room for many years now, so it’s no surprise that it was the first on my list of places to go to when I was planning a trip to New York earlier this year.
The Russian Tea Room offers a full a-la-carte menu as well as a series of fixed price specials from Pre and Post Theatre specials to a sumptuous High Tea – all perfect for fitting around your other New York activities. The food is modern continental, of course, with a Russian flare. You can find traditional Red Borscht and Blintzes mixed with modern seasonal dishes. And, not to forget, you can choose from more than 40 varieties of Vodka! Don’t fear, if Vodka isn’t your preferred drink there is an extensive cocktail and wine list too.
There are four floors providing a variety of options for your next party, function or dining experience. Downstairs you will find the main restaurant area and bar. The restaurant is a stunning combination of rich red leather banquettes, golden samovars, chandeliers, gold leaf, and dark green walls. On the second floor is the Bear Room where the centrepiece is a 15 foot revolving bear aquarium and a stunning tree decorated with Faberge inspired Venetian glass eggs. The Bear Ballroom is decorated in gold, glass and brass and features etched glass depicting covorting bears, frolicking rabbits and silver leaf stag heads. At the fourth floor is the Hearth Room a more intimate space with inlaid faux wood walls, carved mirrors and a huge hearth, great for a winter warmer. Whatever the size of you function The Russian Tea Roomcan configure the spaces to suit.
We went for the Pre-Theatre option and we weren’t disappointed. You get to choose a appertizer, entree and desert (what we would call an entrée, main and desert in Australia) from a delightful selection of goodies. I chose the Blini with Caviar to start, followed by the Kulebiaka (a delicious salmon wrapped in pastry dish) and cheesecake for desert. For a Pre-Theatre menu the potion sizes were large and it was extremely good value for money. For drinks I started with a vodka cocktail aptly called a Moscow Mule – this was a zingy blend of vodka, ginger puree, lime juice and bitters. I followed this with a glass of white wine.
Our waiter was superb in explaining everything on the menu, in making suggestions, answering touristy questions and in allowing us time to enjoy the ambience. We even got our photo taken at the end and were given a small tour to the second floor to see the Bear Aquarium and Faberge tree despite the room not being made up for guests.
Celebrating its 85th anniversary, if this restaurant had ears, what it would have heard and seen would fill many books! Founded by the Russian Imperial Ballet in 1927 it has served countless guests from actors, writers to politicians to yes, well even humble old me! It can even claim to have had Madonna as a coat-check girl!
The Russian Tea Room has also just started to serve breakfast from 7-10am – of course with a Russian touch. I had a peek at the menu and found delectable goodies such as Czar’s eggs, Caviar omelette, Oladi (Russian pancakes) and teas named Russian Morning, Russian Country and Prince Vladimir!