The FireBird, New York City’s iconic Russian restaurant (365 West 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue) will transport guests back to another era. The opulent restaurant has been re-imagined by Joe Valentine whose family has owned the FireBird for the past five years. Valentine, a classically trained musician has returned home after traveling around the world to take ownership of the Hell’s Kitchen venue.
The history of the double-townhouse was due to the vision of Baroness Irina von der Launitz who missed the magic of her beloved homeland and convinced her husband to create a restaurant in homage of her favorite FireBird ballet. Due to her demands visitors will find a celebration of the Russian culture housed in midtown Manhattan.
In tribute to the ballet the furnishings deliver a grandeur that depicts scenes and characters of the famed production. Each room showcases a scene, style or vision that creates a feeling of splendor while strolling through the space. Diners have the opportunity to call in and reserve their choice of dining rooms. If their request is available that night they can dine throughout the restaurant like royalty.
Some of the manor’s rooms include the green and gold China Room, the Library Room with the fable’s golden apple tree, the Red or the Jewel of Russia Room, the LV Room with a private roof deck garden, the Blue Room containing the Ballet’s original 1910 costumes and the Ballroom with its iridescent crystal chandeliers twinkling throughout the night.
Start the service with the restaurant’s signature honey-infused vodka for a sweet start to the night. Patrons have traveled great distances just to try the unique liquor as the selection provides a golden caress of sweet and spice.
The champagne and caviar lounge contains more than two hundred vodkas from around the world. The infused selections have visitors flocking to the lounge just to try a homemade vintage.
Diners seeking a cocktail rather than a straight serving can sample some of the specialty drinks including the Czarina Kir (house-honey-infused vodka with Perrier-Jouet Champagne), FireBird Kiss (Aboslut Raspberry, Chambord, Raspberry Pure, cranberry juice and decadent chocolate shavings) and the From Russia with Love with Pinky Vodka infused with wild strawberries, roses and violets, cranberry juice, 7up, and topped with rose petals.
Moving though the main menu, begin with a zakuska, Russian for small plates that are served with lush ingredients but are a light instead of a heavy start to the meal. Signature plates include Herring under a Fur Coat (layers of chopped herring, carrots, red beets, potatoes and hard boiled egg), Gravlax (house-cured red beet salmon, dill aioli and brioche toast) and the Venigret, red and yellow beet, potato, red onions, pickles, sour cabbage and carrots.
For a traditional Russian experience make sure to order a caviar tasting. The serving has been updated to include buckwheat blini that will roll the red onion, caviar, egg white, crème fraiche and egg yolk accoutrements to deliver a delicious bite.
Now that the palate has been tempted, the main entrees have arrived. Popular courses include the Chicken Kiev (classic style filled with arugula puree, mushroom kasha and cranberry compote), Borscht (Ukrainian Beet Borscht, beef brisket and potato piroshky), and Salmon Kulebiaka, a salmon baked in a puff pastry, sorrel spinach sauce, mushroom, cabbage, egg, fennel and citrus slaw, extra virgin olive oil, fennel and herb sauce.
Save room for the encore, dessert performance as Banana Foster lights up the night with its flambéed sweetness served over ice cream or the Bird’s Milk (a dessert created in tribute to the Russian candies that is reminiscent of Mallomars atop an almond cake) providing a decadent close to the night’s festivities.
It’s time to send Russia your love with a trip to the FireBird for a timeless dining experience.