Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Russian Tea Room -- NYC Restaurant Week

Every winter and summer New York City hosts a Restaurant Week event where diners can enjoy a three-course, prix-fixe lunches for $24.07, and dinners for $35, at some of the city's best participating restaurants.  This winter the event runs from January 25 - February 7.

My husband, daughter, and I chose to dine at The Russian Tea Room located at 150 West 57th Street (between 6th and 7th Ave) in New York City.

The Russian Tea Room is located just a few doors down from Carnegie Hall

The Russian Tea Room was opened in 1926 by former members of the Russian Imperial Ballet. It has had many owners through the years, and closed and re-opened twice in the past 20 years  The fascinatng history of the restaurant can be read at this link.

The main dining room -photo credit: The Russian Tea Room

The Russian Tea Room web site states:
 "For over eighty years, New York’s defining cultural moments have taken place at Russian Tea Room. Ever since members of the Russian Imperial Ballet founded the restaurant in 1927, it has been a second home for boldface names and the intellectual elite—an exclusive enclave where actors, writers, politicians, and businessmen planned their next deals and feted their friends’ latest Carnegie Hall performances. The lively tradition and legacy of the Russian Tea Room is alive and well!"

We were very lucky to be able to take a tour of the upper floors of the restaurant the evening we visited, which, in recent years, has been open only for private parties and special events.  There we saw the incredibly ornate features of the Bear Lounge, the Bear Ballroom, and the Hearth Lounge (photos will enlarge when clicked on). The Russian Tea Room can accommodate parties ranging from 10 to 800 guests for cocktails or full meals.

The 9-foot-tall, revolving, acrylic bear-shaped aquarium in the bear lounge.

The 15-foot-tall Egg Tree, hung with 35 Fabergé-inspired, hand-blown Murano glass eggs created by a Venetian glassblower, also in the Bear Lounge.

Above and below gilded dancing-bear chandeliers and bear sculptures, highlighted by an 8-foot-tall, 19th-century Baccarat chandelier.


The Restaurant Week Russian Tea room pre-fixe menu:


Our dinner selections:


Top, left to right, appetizers: Goat Cheese Wild Mushroom Blinchik, Tea Room Red Borscht, entrees: Chicken Kiev, Boeuf a la Straganoff, and bottom left Vareniki ( Russian Ravioli stuffed with cheese and spinach), desserts: traditional cheesecake and chocolate pyramid of bittersweet chocolate mousses and vanilla creme brulee.  (last photo is a repeat of an appetizer)  Photo can be enlarge by clicking on it.

All of these selections were available on the regular Russian Tea Room menu, so it was nice to know that they would be available on a return visit.  Our dinner was absolutely superb and the service and attention to detail was excellent! We definitely felt pampered.  It was an all around wonderful experience for both first time dinners, to devoted patrons,  because of the ability to tour the private second, third, and fourth floor rooms.

As a trivia thrill we were also excited to be seated in the "Tootsie"  booth where Dustin Hoffman sat in the title role of the 1982 film -- the restaurant scene clip can be seen below in this Youtube:



I hope that you will be able to visit NYC during a future Restaurant Week occasion and enjoy dining at a participating restaurant.  It's a wonderful way to taste of the best of New York!

I am adding this post to Michael Lee's "Foodie Friday" event on her wonderful blog Designs By Gollum blog. Visit today to see links to participating blogs showing fabulous culinary delights of all descriptions!  Thank you Michael Lee.





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64 comments:

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oh, Pat! This looks fabulous. I've been to a lot of restaurants in NYC, but I've never made it to the Russian Tea Room which is one of my close friend's favorites. Seeing this makes me to determined to get there!

Happy Foodie Friday...

XO,

Sheila :-)

Nancy Jane said...

Hi Pat-Have a bit on my Foodie Friday piece about my son and his wife going to Nobu for Restaurant week. They loved it, and this was the only way they could afford to go! This is one of the things I miss about leaving NY! Nancy

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wow Pat... What a fabulous place. That place is truly awesome. What would the cost be for a dinner like you had there on a 'regular' night?????

Thank you so much for taking us on the tour of the Russian Tea Room. What a fabulous opportunity for you to get to go there during Restaurant week.. Are you going to others????

Hugs,
Betsy

Really Rainey said...

I ALWAYS love coming to your blog because I really feel like I am visiting NY. Thanks for the fantastic photos and the food looked incredible and my mouth watered when I enlarged the photos! Yum!
Rainey

Lily Hydrangea said...

Thanks for the tour Pat. You really got some great pictures & the food looks delish.

Gracie said...

I've seen it in so many movies, I'm familiar with the place, and over the years I've always thought about it just as a movie location, it's great to know you can actually have dinner!
Gracie @http://mylittleplace.blog.com

Riet said...

Wow what a fabulous place Pat. My goodness what a richness it shows. Your pictures are beautiful and show the beauty of it all.

PAT said...

This sounds like a wonderful event, Pat!

The food looks wonderful and the restaurant is beautiful.

I remember that movie scene!:-)

diane said...

Ah I found you again. Somehow I lost your link. Loved your post. The Restaurant week sounds a great tradition. You chose a superb place, colourful and historic. How cool to be sitting in the Tootsie seat. I'm glad I came today as I'm interested in the food blog. My post is about food today.

Old Kitty said...

Wow!

How beautiful! It's one of those place I only hear about - almost fabled - "The Russian Tea Room, New York City" and here it is. It's breathtaking and so plush - that Bear! And I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time. The meals look so scrummy! And you got to sit on the Tootsie booth! How fab is that?

What a great event and a great opportunity to tour places normally only available to private parties and patrons.

Will have a gander at the links now.

Take care
x

Jay said...

Wow, that is such an incredible place! You know, one of the delights of visiting NYC, and other American cities, too, is discovering these gems hidden inside completely nondescript buildings. Would you ever suspect such opulence, from the outside?

My name is PJ. said...

I went to the original Russian Tea Room when I was 16, with my best friend and her parents. (I'm almost 53, so that was many moons ago).

It was beautiful and fun for me...and I had a raging cold, so I kept excusing myself to go to the ladies room in order to blow my nose and not be ill-mannered.

My friend's mother finally asked what I was doing and she assured me I could blow my nose at the table.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Pat, this is fantastic. Absolutely great photos. Aren't those chandeliers fabulous?

It brings back wonderful memories for me. My husband and I ate at the Russian Tea Room and then went next door to a Frank Sinatra concert at Carnegie Hall. At the Russian Tea Room Gene Shallot was at the table next to us. A fabulous weekend.

I feel like I've been to NY today.
Sam

Sea Witch said...

Without a doubt, one of my parents favorite restauants in the city after a night at the theater. Twice a year reservations were made for months ahead of a specific theater night and mom and dad would get dressed to the nines...it was the 1960s, people still did that and I miss it. Sea Witch

Christine Witt said...

Mm...wow..this looks amazing. I've not been to NYC for Restaurant Week, but now I'm thinking about coming down for the next one. What a great way to let more people try more and different places. I'm glad you posted this, Pat.

ARLENE said...

I hadn't realized The Russian Tea Room was open again. I had a memorable dinner there in the 80's following my first performance of the great Alvin Ailey troupe. I was so impressed that I hosted a Russian-themed dinner with my then foodie group. I can't remember the name of the wonderful meat-filled "turnovers" (piroshki, perhaps?), but there was one year where I made them constantly. Thanks for a great memory and the gorgeous photos. I'm glad to hear the food is superb again.

Catherine said...

Beautiful tour. An elderly lady friend always dined at the Russian Tea Room with her brother when visiting New York.

Melanie said...

I love those wrap around red seats- like the fairground ride.

Oh that bear though and the glass eggs! Beautiful!

The food looked pretty good too. :-)

Jo said...

Pat, these pictures are amazing, wish I was there.

Jenny said...

Oh what a fabulous post! I went there years ago. With my business partner and her husband and my Mom who were all along to work our Javitz booth with us.

I ordered soup.

Well, who knew you aren't supposed to just eat it out of the little turreen?

Geez. The waiter about had a heart attack.

He actually shook his finger at me...shooshed my hand away and proceeded to pour it into a warmed bowl he was carrying.

Yea. I just cracked up and giggled the whole rest of the time I was there.

He glared at me a lot!

Funny memory...thanks for that!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I just read about Restaurant Week on another blog and it sounds like such a wonderful event! Wished I lived a little closer ;) I hear the reservations get snapped up quickly but you scored big on this one!

Tracy said...

Oh, the Russian Tea Room...I've always wanted to go there! Those red seats, the ceilings, the decor, the menu...*SWOON*... Just looking at these photos, Pat...what a treat! I think I could easily live in and enjoy NYC... really, I think I could--LOL! Happy Weekend, my friend ((HUGS))

vicki archer said...

What a fabulous and historic restaurant and one I would love to visit...Have a happy weekend. xv

merrilymarylee said...

I've walked past it. . . thanks for taking me inside!

Oh, you do take wonderful pictures!

Vee said...

Elegant to say the very least! Visit there? Well, one can dream.

The Muse said...

MS Pat...How are you? I can see you are doing quite well in the dining experience area! The RTR is one of those places you will never forget...I have always enjoyed my time there :)
Lovely pictures in your blog post, you have captured it perfectly!

I personally invite you to join in the Poetic Valentine Giveaway at
http://adivashammer.com/archives/913

Good luck :)

21st Century Housewife© said...

What a super post - my family and I love The Russian Tea Room! We always make a point of going there at least once when we are in NYC - which is at least twice a year. Not bad when you consider how far away I live in England :) but we really do love NY!

steviewren said...

Mmmmm, what impressive decor! So much to look at. You were really lucky to get to take the tour. I love reading about your restaurant week meals. I wish we had something like that here. I'd love to go to one of chef Frank Stitt's restaurants without having to pay full price.

Annalisa said...

What a wonderful place to visit!!! Places like that are unfortunately only in my mind- I don't think italy will ever have something so mangificent!...Sardinia even less, it's the typical mediterranean island, with tiny local bars and restaurants-some are big and expensive- but the most of them is really simple and not so "international"..Unfortunately !
So thank you for taking me to this wonderful place, even though only virtually!

Love
Annalisa

annie said...

Hi, so glad you stopped by and lovely to get to "meet" you.
This post was fantastic.
The Russian Tea Room used to have such great recipes and I have their old cookbook which I love.
Have a lovely weekend.
We are getting ready for the coming storm. Yuk!

Nola @ the Alamo said...

I am green, or in this case "Borscht red" with envy. The photos are spectacular and the menu didn't look bad either!

Lorrie said...

What a great dinner deal Pat. I have never been to the Russian Tea Room, so it was great to get look at the inside. Your meals look superb!

I would love to be seated in the "Tootsie" booth too. That movie is a favorite of mine. It was on cable TV when one of my kids was a newborn and I remember watching it over and over in the wee small hours while I was up with a baby who had nights and days mixed up!

ButterYum said...

What a fantastic post!!

:)
ButterYum

Michelle said...

How fun! Our town does this too ~ but nothing like the Russian Tea Room.

Linda Lou said...

PAT, I LOVE, LOVE THE RUSSIAN TEA ROOM, I WENT TWICE AND EVEN REMEMBER WHAT I WORE BACK IN THE 70S.. THIS AMAZING PLAC IS A FEAST FOR THE EYES AND LOOKS BETTER THAN EVER...WE MAY BE COMING TO NY IN NOVEMBER AND IT WOULD AWESOME TO TAKE MY HUBBY THERE!

M.Kate said...

Absolutely amazing pictures Pat, I have read about this place...and it wd be so cool to go there one day. hugs/M

Tara said...

Hi Pat

I love how ornate the RTR is! Gold, gold, gold all over! Restaurant week is a great way to go to places that can be a bit pricey...glad you all had a good time!

Jojo said...

It looks absolutely gorgeous and I can't wait to visit on my next trip to NYC. Don't you just love Restaurant Week! In Atlanta we have it twice a year and the event has taken me to places that I would have never visited otherwise.

BTW - My cousin was Carol and we were a year apart so I am used to being called Carol - it happened my whole life!

You are so right in your comments. Lots of small gestures add up to some great works on earth.

Dishesdone said...

Wow, great pictures, Pat! What a fabulous time! Lucky you get to the city so often! Haven't been to the Russian Tea Room in years! Such a problem to go to the city and decide on a restaurant! The Chicken Kiev. I remember the waiter made a big deal of slicing it open so the butter stayed on the plate, LOL! Great place, I enjoyed your post!

Shirleyanne said...

Wow! This absolutely stunning. So much to take in! Very beautiful & such lovely detail. I would love to go to a place like this several times. Just to soak up the atmosphere of the place.
The food sounded & looked delicious aswell.
A very good idea with the fixed prices for a period of time.

Lucy said...

Annnnnnd.....I wanna go there, too. Gorgeous place.

Mary said...

I had lunch with my great-aunt many years ago in the Russian Tea Room. I was quite young and it was other worldly to me. Thanks for the memory. Have a great day. Blessings...Maryemosn

SmilingSally said...

That must have been a blast! Regis talked about it! Great times, Pat.

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Wow Pat! How elegant!! That is an incredible restaurant. My favorite will always be the Irish Pub we all ate at! I know, it's a different type but what a memory!!!!

Big hugs to you & Vinny from Chris & Sherry

Grace said...

My my! 14 years ago when I started working for my current bosses I worked on the renovation of The Russian Tea Room. I was in awe I was a shadow who was allowed to "pick" carpet and have ideas. Warner LeRoy was the owner and then after he passed away they had closed it and were going to auction everything and do a golf museum there...I cried (was young)! lol Thank goodness they reopened. Sad they had to close Tavern on the Green in Central Park, by all means I am not comparing at all by far Russian Tea Room's food is wonderful! Thank you so much for posting this and bringing back great memories. I went last year now must go again. So glad you loved it! Grace xoxoxo

Joyce said...

Oh what a wonderful post and all the photos was like I was walking around there myself. I also want to thank you for your comments on my blog today. If you were living here you would definitely have been on my list of invites. We had so much fun laughing and of course eating like we had never heard the word "calorie"!
Joyce

Dana said...

What a wonderful tour of The Russian Tea Room. To think, when I was in NYC about 13 years ago, I was very near it and didn't know it. I recall walking by Carnegie Hall and being so impressed with being so near that fabulous place! If I had known about this tea room, I would have dragged by traveling buddies to that place, too! It looks so opulent and that food sounds terrific.
Hope you are having a great weekend. I know DC is snowed in...haven't heard what's going on in your area. We are expecting another heavy round of snow tomorrow evening thru Tues! :(

L, Dana

lisa-grandma-s-briefs said...

Looks like a feast for ALL senses! Yum!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

I'm never been there but it looks very similar to Tavern on the Green (may she rest in peace :-) on the inside. And the food looks great...sometimes as you know you get "robbed" during Restaurant Week (bad dishes, bad portions) but looks like you hit a home run!

Laura in Paris said...

What a great post! I love everything Russian and loved the pictures your took at teh restuarant.
I have added you to the list of blogs I follow.

The Muse said...

May this Sunday find you well!

aliceinparis said...

Wow what a fabulous post! The Russian Tearoom is one of New York's foodie landmarks:) I always wanted to go there as a young girl. It sounded so glamorous. Great to try it on restaurant week.WONDERFUL pictures!!!!!!!!!
I am getting excited about our trip.Will send you an email closer to the time.

Kathy said...

This is stunning Pat and how cool that you had the Tootsie booth, that clip was so funny lol. and the tour too. The Russian Tea Room looks like an experience for all the senses, your mosaics of all the decorations and food are incredible and sumptuous. Hayley has just booked her return trip to NYC, with friends, she loved it so much. I am not invited this time
:-(. or else we would be dining right here lol. Hope you had a wondeful weekend, hugs, Kathy.

Le Crunchy Mama said...

Wow, what a beautiful restaurant! The food looks delish, too!

Sue said...

Hi Pat....I have passed the Russian Tea Room many times and we were looking into it for daughters wedding but I have never been inside....it's gorgeous!! I will have to make a point of going with daughter next time we go into the city....my best friend from Jersey has been enjoying resturant week...she hit up a couple of places last week and had a ball...They went to both Mario Batali's and Daniel Boulud's....

CatHerder said...

ATLANTIC CITY restaurant week is coming up too..im hoping the snow will be cleared so we can go enjoy!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Thanks for the tour...looks like an amazing place. How fun to dine in such a 'special' restaurant!

I know Vancouver has a similar restaurant week around this time of year...but I guess it got overshadowed by the Olympics this year...because I haven't heard a thing about it.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - I'm glad to be catching up with your wonderful posts. I love NYC Restaurant Week, but I think I have to stay away from rich food after my 3 weeks in Italy. The Russian Tea Room is a wonderful place and you got some really great shots. I well remember that scene in Tootsie. How lucky you got to sit in that same booth.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

TOTALLY FABULOUS!!

Claudia said...

Blinis and caviar - once a year.Perfect birthday celebration. Named my kitten Kasha after one of their desserts. Ahh, the memories.

Brenda said...

I LOVE this post, Pat, and your photos are fantastic! I've always wanted to dine at the Russian Tea Room. I wanna move to NYC..NOW! :)

Rue said...

I love that movie! i need to watch it again LOL

I've always wanted to go to the tea room. The food sounds incredible!

hugs

Sara said...

Never been to The Russian Tea Room - and it was so cool to see it through your camera...

The food looked wonderful!

betsy said...

Pat- Looking through your older posts is a delight. Had I all the money in the world I would live at least part of the year in NYC. Your photos of The Russian Tea Room are beautiful. I am so glad you let me arm-chair travel with your pictures. I cannot wait to work my way through your archive. And the Tea Room! How baroque!