Ever since members of the Russian Imperial Ballet founded the restaurant in 1927, it became a second home for Russian and Polish expats, the intellectual elite and the high society. Its long running slogan is: “Six minutes and twenty-three seconds from Lincoln Center and slightly to the left of Carnegie Hall”. The food may not be as awesome as the interior, but the brunch is surprisingly affordable and makes for a marvelous time on a Sunday morning. (the croissants are to die for!) A lot of history has happened in its exquisite red and gold interior: Scenes from Manhattan, The Turning Point, Tootsie and New York Stories, were filmed at the restaurant. And in 1972, Madonna worked there, as a coat-check clerk. Even my family has history here:
My grandmother´s uncle had a Russian sweetheart back in Lithuania. They lost contact due to the war. He moved to New York to escape the Nazis. One fine day he walked into the Russian Tea Room. and out of all the Russian establishments in the world, who was there but no other than the one woman he never forgot. (Just like Casablanca, with Nazis and everything!) They were married soon afterwards.
Friday from 5pm – 7pm is Vodka Hour. A flight of vodka – tasting of three – for $14
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-11pm; Sun, 11am-3pm and 5pm-10pm
150 W. 57th St., nr. Seventh Ave. NY, 10019 212-333-2970