The Russian Tea Room
One of New York’s most iconic restaurants, The Russian Tea Room has been around forever, like 1927 kind of forever. Taking over the entire building, they have created a world of their own. When it first opened, the space had a very different feel to it. It was more of a diner with design elements that pay homage to the Russian ballet like the green scalloped curtain-like pieces that jut out of the walls. Over the years, the gold detailing was added to these “curtains” and the space began to accumulate Russian artwork. One year for the holiday season red Christmas ball ornaments were hanged from the light fixtures, half a century later, with some replacements due to wear, they are still hanging.
In this time, the dishes became more and more refined. What you’ll find now are elevated takes on Russian dishes. Caviar is everywhere. It’s amazing! On cream cheese topped mini pancakes, on omelettes—it’s heavenly. Loved the gigantic crab cake topped with lobster, mushrooms and cilantro. It has that thick crisp outer crust and the juicy crab meat shredded inside. You can’t order wrong. What you’ll have here is a taste of past riches intertwined with contemporary comfort foods. It’s definitely an experience worth having. Right now, I’d recommend going with family. But, I hear some changes may be in the works that will redefine the space for a trendier crowd. Go now and see it as it’s been and then revisit down the road to see how this space, like Madonna, continues to change with the times.
FYI, they have some over the top incredible event spaces on their upper floors. I’m talking about a glass bear more than three times my height filled with goldfish (which I’m still waiting to hear back about how their fed because the entire bear looks sealed shut). There is a golden tree with oversized ball ornaments dangling from it, colorful stained glass windows that line the ceilings, mirrors—there’s so much to take in! Go be a part of this ever evolving Russian time capsule in the heart of New York City.