Inside Scoop: The Russian Tea Room
What was founded 90 years ago as a place for the Russian cultural and intellectual elite to meet and play has become a New York cultural institution of its own. Today, the Russian Tea Room draws on its rich heritage, theatrical design, classic food—and, of course, its legendary reputation as a gilded playground for the international elite—to draw a new generation of New Yorkers and Carnegie Hall-goers to 57th Street.
Once considered homey comfort fare by Russian expats, the Franco-Russian fare served here now has a sophisticated nostalgic feel. Favorites such as borscht, boeuf à la stroganoff, côtelette à la kiev, and, of course, caviar and blini continue to rule, while the pelmeni (beef dumplings in consommé) now contain foie gras and truffle, the house-cured salmon gravlax is accompanied by preserved lemons, potato-chive blini and grated beet horseradish cream, and the imported caviar offerings have been joined by domestic selections, including California white sturgeon. On the dessert side, the classic cherry and cheese blintzes can be ordered alongside the Czar’s gold and caviar parfait, topped with 24K edible gold. Over the decades, the famous selection of vodkas has grown to include more than 40 varieties. Afternoon tea, long a tradition, has expanded to include menus for children, vegetarians, and gluten-free guests.
The Russian Tea Room is a treasured, globally renowned cultural institution, simultaneously a sanctuary of refinement and glamorous fun.