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.
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.