You don’t need to hop a flight to Moscow to get a taste of warm Russian hospitality. Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay neighborhoods offer a wide variety of Russian-style restaurants with outrageous live entertainment along with opulent, banquet-style dining—not to mention all the vodka you can handle.
But if you’re not a local, it’s hard to know which spots are worth the trek. We asked Elle Glazman, owner of Jaime Day Spa in Manhattan, and regular on the Russian nightlife circuit, to point us in the right direction.
2027 Emmons Ave., near E. 21st St., Brooklyn, 718-368-0004
The scoop: Located on the third floor of Loehmann’s, this modern Russian restaurant features a glass-enclosed terrace that overlooks the Emmons Avenue canal dotted with boats. Diners are offered a lavish, banquet-style menu for around $100 per person. “This means you’ll get food coming all night long,” Glazman said.
Entertainment: Enjoying a leisurely meal is part of the Russian dining experience, and at Passage, the experience is enhanced by a live band that plays global music. After a few shots of vodka, you’ll find it hard to resist the dance floor.
282 Brighton Beach Ave. at Brighton 3rd St., Brooklyn, 718-891-3111
The scoop: Open since 1981, this casual, local favorite lures crowds with live music nightly, a menu of hearty ethnic Georgian-Jewish dishes, a great selection of Georgian wines and plenty of Russian vodkas. Banquet dinners cost $45-50, and include all the food you can eat, with dishes like Russian crepes and caviar, platters of cold cuts and assorted smoked fish.
Extras: Parties of five receive one bottle of French wine, parties of 10 receive one bottle of Russian vodka.
3152 Brighton Beach Ave. at Brighton 6th St, Brooklyn, 718-891-5151
The scoop: “This restaurant is a staple of the Russian community,” said regular Mark Martov. The well-known seaside supper club, recently featured in an episode of HBO’s “Bored to Death,” is famous for Vegas-style shows and raucous scene, along with a 20-foot fish tank. “The crowd is always dressed to the nines and ready for a good time,” Martov said. Diners should note that they’ll likely do tons of dancing—so try not to fill up too fast.
The cost: Weekend banquets cost $75-100 per person (including alcohol. One bottle of vodka is included per 10 people).
3202 Emmons Ave., at Brigham St., Brooklyn, 347-232-2813
The scoop: “The crowd is beautiful and the music is always pumping,” said Glazman of this Meatpacking District-style club. Designed by Steve Lewis and Mark Dizon, the team behind Marquee, Home, and Butter, this Emmons Avenue waterfront property boasts a (weather permitting) roof deck and luxe interior. “OPM is a full blown modern Asian restaurant and sushi bar by day,” said co-owner Oleg Vibe, “transforming to a late-night destination with world class DJs at night.”
Entertainment: Sometimes the music includes Soviet-style love songs belted out live over club beats, an arresting combination.
2670 Coney Island Ave., at Ave X, Brooklyn, NY 718-332-8111
The scoop: Named after Russia’s most notoriously excessive historical figure, this 9,000 square feet cabaret and supper club is fittingly over-the-top. On top of stellar service, think Vegas-style showgirls, intricate costumes (designed and made in Russia) and banquet-style dining—prix-fixe menus range from $75-100 per person on weekends. Guests can linger over French-Russian dishes such as blintzes with red and black caviar and Hudson Valley foie gras while taking in the show, followed by dancing ‘till 3 a.m.
Helpful tip: The space is often booked for private events, so call ahead.