The new fad in Manhattan’s high dining scene appears to be Russian cuisine, with Russian restaurants like Brasserie Pushkin, named after the poet Pushkin, appearing throughout the city. At Brasserie Pushkin, Russian dishes, in honor of the poet’s birthplace, receive a French brasserie touch: pirojki ($4) are made with brioche dough, and steak tartare ($20) is featured on the menu as well.
The “Olivier” Salad ($19) – a traditional Russian salad of chicken, quail eggs, potato, crawfish tails and osetra caviar is served tableside, as is traditional. Beef stroganoff ($34) is made with strips of beef tenderloin. There are also many fish options available, including salmon, sea bass, pike and starlet.
The dessert menu is definitely worth perusing, as the pastry chef, Emmanuel Ryon, is world renowned for his creations. Macarons and other cakes and cookies are available to go, but try the namesake Café Pushkin dessert ($16) if you stay in for a sweet morsel: the cake of blueberry and raspberry gelee, almonds, raspberry sorbet, pistachio mousse and vanilla-orange coulis is already receiving rave reviews.
The extensive drinks list includes several choices of Russia’s favorite beverage: vodka. The brasserie also offers several house-infused vodkas: pine nut, cranberry and horseradish, at $9 a shot. The house cocktails, also with vodka, are intriguing additions to the menu, like the Petrushka ($15), beluga vodka, ginger root, apple juice and apple schnapps with nutmeg.
The restaurant manages to be cozy while still channeling Belle Époque décor over its three levels of dining spaces, complete with glass chandeliers, French oak walls and muraled ceilings. Even the menus pay homage to the time period, inspired by the look of a false newspaper and featuring imagined news stories amongst the offerings themselves.
The prices are just as impressive however – if not more so – than the food and dining area. Sturgeon caviar is $60 dollars a serving, while Golden Osetra Caviar is $125, steep prices, even for Manhattan. While for some, it’s worth the hefty bill, others may do well to opt for the lunch menu, which is slightly more reasonable, pricewise.