Tatiana Restaurant & Nightclub
There are so many angles for an opening gambit to a review of Brighton Beach's famed Tatiana Restaurant & Night Club. We could go with the fact that for most New Yorkers, "dinner and a show" means a semi-overpriced Italian joint and a revival musical somewhere in the West 40s, not a Russian banquet, fire throwing, and line dancing. Or we could talk about how a meal at Tatiana is akin to a blind taste test, given that you can't really see what you're eating about 80% of the time a dish is served. Or we could discuss how the Wall of Fame down by the bathrooms has over 40 framed pictures featuring Oksana Baiul and that guy from one of those movies.
So to avoid having to make a choice, let's just go with all of the above. Tatiana will provide one of the most bizarrely entertaining nights you'll have in a town full of bizarrely entertaining options. Bordering a stretch of the boardwalk, Tatiana's outdoor seating spills out onto the strip. But the main event takes place inside, where your meal is accompanied by a very home-cooked show featuring dancers, singers, and trapeze artists. How many dinners have you been to that ended with a light show and unison clapping from the entire dining room? We thought so.
And then there's the food—which essentially serves the purpose of letting you drink without getting the spins. You can come and order à la carte, but this place is known for its banquet-style meals ($80-$105 per person). You'll need numbers for this option, so round up your closest and least judgmental friends. Here's a litmus test: Anybody who is embarrassed at karaoke is out; Anybody who runs to the center of the wedding dance floor to lift the bride on a chair despite not knowing anyone there is in. Head for Little Russia, and prepare to sit back and be served platter after platter, worrying less about the menu and more about the people dancing inside giant picture frames.
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Potatoes And Mushrooms
Exactly what it sounds like: a big plate of potatoes topped with various types of sautéed mushrooms.
Daikon radish, some form of meat (beef? duck? probably beef), and thin, crunchy fried onions, coated in some mayonnaise sauce. The crunchy onions and radish mixed with the chewy meat is a nice combo. This one is actually pretty good, despite the description I just gave you.
You know what's in a Greek salad? That's what's in this one too.
A few slices of homemade lox and butterfish. Russ and his daughters would roll over in their graves if they ate this, but if it's what you're hankering for, it does the trick. Mind the occasional bone.
The pancakes are a bit bigger than you might be used to with blini, but the dough is actually pretty nice and sweet. Top one of these with a scoop of salty salmon roe, and you'll have one of the better bites of the night.
Spicy Beef Tongue
Not necessary. At all. Pass. PASS.
The shish kabobs here are very straightforward. You'll get hunks of meat, some pita, and some red sauce served up on a heaping metal platter. If you come here and don't go for a banquet dinner (which you should very much opt for), this is probably the order for you.
Beef Stew "Country Style"
Not sure what makes this "country style" stew as opposed to "regular stew," but what the hell do we know about the Russian countryside? This is basically some hunks of beef in a ceramic pot, served up with some veg and brown sauce. As with most everything else here, this stew isn't going to change lives, but it will allow you to keep drinking.
Served with scoops of ice cream, this is a big plate of dessert—about the size of your head, actually. Unless you're still starving at this point in the meal, order to share.