ROM Outing: Tatiana’s

23 01 2009

I’m no expert in languages, but I’m pretty sure “Tatiana’s” is how you say “awesome” in Russian. As a New Yorker since the womb, it’s not often that I find myself somewhere in the city going, “now THIS is some exotic shit,” but at Tatiana’s where Russian speakers outnumber English speakers 99 to 1, that is how it goes down. Located waaaaay out on Brighton Beach, Tatiana Restaurant is the real deal. The following are some helpful tips for the brave who choose to venture there.

Rule #1: Look sharp! We’re not talking the button-down you wear to work when the boss is in town. Dress UP.  If you have plans to get hair or nails did, git ‘er done before you visit Tatiana’s.

Rule #2: BYO copious amounts of V! The set menu (think ballpark $100-$120 a head. Yes, it’s no drop in the bucket) includes a bottle of vodka but if you want to do T’s right, bring a magnum of Grey Goose (we brought two).

Rule #3: Roll deep. We were a group of 10 or so and we took over our own table with nice sight lines towards the stage. Oh, you din’t know? Tatian’a includes DINNER THEATER. Make sure you go on a Friday night because the it’s all about what I believe was called EUPHORIA SHOW! When the show is over you can crash the stage and get your boogie on.

Rule #4: Bring a fist full of singles for the bathroom. Your “Dep” and “Secret” needs will be tended too (if you’re doing the dancing part right, this will come in handy) and if you need a spritz of Tresor, Poison or other perfume your mom approve of, this can be done as well. Don’t expect to have meaningful communication with the attendant unless you’re a Slavic Studies major. Also ladies, bring your confidence with you so that when you find yourself applying lipstick next to a gaggle of gorgeous 19 year olds, you’re not doing too much comparative ogling.

Rule #5: Bring your A-game. Gents, if courting one of the said 19 year old hotties while smoking a cigarette on the beach, make sure her brother or thuggish boyfriend is not watching.

Rule #6: Going with native Russian speakers is preferable. If this is not possible bring flexible, fun-loving friends who can go with the flow. This is not Applebees. Nor is it Pepperbee’s (thankfully). If you don’t know what I mean, see the unrelated NSFW video below:

Anyway, back to the restaurant at hand. Prepare for a feast as course after delicious course comes out. Just when you think it’s done, more comes. Seriously, the amount of food they bring you is ridiculous. We all brought stuff home (there was TONS).

Food-wise, I found the real stars here to be in the (multitudinous) sides rather than the main courses. I’m not a huge fan of mayo, the world’s favorite condiment, and many of the salads included plenty of it, such as the seafood salad, but I surprised myself in being able to tolerate it. The pickles were out of this world and, as suggested to me by Roman, there really is no better way to chase a shot of vodka than with a slice of pickled tomato. There were lox, which were nice. The tongue salad was a little on the gelatinous side for yours true, but the duck salad was excellent: mixed greens with chunks of rich dark meat, and the simple pleasure of melon wrapped in prosciutto is out of this world when the ingredients are fresh and high quality (as at Tatiana’s). The mains included a brisket, while the dried apricots in the sauce were a lovely touch, the meat itself was not as tender as it could have been, meanwhile the pasta dish was more notable for quantity rather than quality. The soft-shell crab, however, was crispy and tender in the right places, but to be frank, I ate this cold since I was on the dance floor when this was brought to the table. The escargot was my favorite dish of the night although at this point I was so full I think I ate only two. It’s served in the traditional escargot dish but instead of the standard buttery fare, there was a creaminess to it that I had never tasted before. Word to the wise. Save room for the escargot. I believe there was some kind of a cake desert but the truth is that the night starts to get a little blurry around that point.

Keep in mind that these various courses were served mainly while Euphoria Show is going on. What is Euphoria Show, you ask??? Well, the wedding-hall mirrored room that makes up the bulk of Tatiana’s gets dark and dancers hit the stage for a show I’ll liken to a Eurotrash Copacabana meets Cirque d’Soleil. Unitards, feathers, sequins, black lights, ladies lowered from the ceiling on swings, a stage that moves up and down, this show has it all. Each dance number is done to an original techno-recreation of a Beatles song. And it ain’t bad! (Although the lip-synching can be a bit at times) If you have a place in your heart for kitch, then you will want to catch the dinner theater at Tatiana’s.

When the show is over, the floor is turned over to the patrons so they can get their boogie on. With the disco ball & lights going a girl can be forgiven for thinking that she’s Olivia Newton John. And if her partner spins her into a couple in their 50s, no one looks askance.

All told, we were at Tatiana’s from 8PM until 4ish. This is not just dinner but a full-on day trip (well, night trip rather) if you sign on for the show and dancing. I give Tatiana’s 2 out of 2 empty Grey Goose magnums for good food and a unique and incredibly good time.

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