Firebird Restaurant

October 17, 2007

Firbird LogoThe Firebird Restaurant exudes an ambiance unlike any other restaurant in New York City. Located on New York’s famous Restaurant Row, the name “Firebird” is representative of Igor Stravinsky and his illustrious ballet that debuted in 1910. Take a walk through the Firebird’s large wrought iron gates and feel transported into Russian culture. Accompanying the authentic pre-Revolutionary Russian food, even the decor is pleasing to the palate.

A number of museum-like rooms with names such as The Ballroom, The Blue Room, The Library and The China Room, set the Firebird apart from other restaurants. The Ballroom has a dramatic skylight framed by a striking chandelier. The China Room is adorned with classic antique china collection and warm emerald walls. Perhaps most stunning is The Library. The large collection of rare Russian books lining the walls accompanied by family pictures lovingly placed on the walls exude Russian history.

If you’re planning a business dinner, the third floor Corporate Suite is ideal; with a large conference table that seats up to 20, a breakout parlor and an outdoor terrace, the suite comes complete with its own butler service.

Of course, at a restaurant, what good is an elegant and historic atmosphere without the food and drink to match? Firebird does not disappoint. You know this the moment the incredible taste of homemade brewed honey vodka, a specialty that you can only find at the Firebird Restaurant, hits your palate. The drink is fermented with twelve spices, then steeped, while honey is slowly mixed in to ignite a taste unlike any other. If honey is not your style, not to worry: the magnificent bar is stocked with over 140 types of vodka from around the world. Try the raspberry infused vodka, or the pureed raspberry martini with dark chocolate shavings.

Styling its seasonal menu from an era in the early twentieth century, Firebird offers rare dishes that New Yorkers can’t find anywhere else in the world. Chef Richutti channels this time period to create an “unparalleled dining experience.” And what an experience it is! Some of the cuisine on offer might not be familiar to those that are not of Russian descent, like “Selodka Pod Shuboi” which is the House marinated Herring, Pickled baby beets, Pickled Cucumbers, Soft Poached egg, and a Crisp Cracker. The taste is just as amazing as the presentation on the plate. The “Tunetz V Koriandre” is a Coriander rubbed tuna, fennel salad, potato fennel puree, red pepper, sour pickle relish, and balsamic vinegar: simply delicious and prepared beautifully.

For the fish fanatic, the “Tushenaya Osetrina”, a Poached Sturgeon, Champagne Nage, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Baby Beets, Green Onions, Grape Tomatoes, and White Truffle Oil, is an excellent choice. The sturgeon, a soft, tender fish, is imported straight from Russia and sits perfectly on your plate. Each dish brought out by the waiter is described and presented in an elegant manner. The service strikes the right combination of friendly and helpful without being overbearing.
Of course what dining experience is complete without dessert? The simple beauty of the pastries on offer, made in-house by pastry chef Jacqueline Zion, are breathtaking. Travelers of Restaurant Row sometimes even just stop in for a few scoops of the special almond flavored ice cream. The dessert menu, like the lunch and dinner menu, changes seasonally to ensure that everything is fresh. Highly recommended right now: the Lemon Soufflé and the Bananas Foster, which is flambéed tableside. Such delicacies are enhanced by an environment that this rich in culture and history.

Firebird’s dishes are not inexpensive, but there are special offers, like the Lunch and Dinner Prix Fixe consisting of a three course meal including coffee or a choice from an array of special Russian teas. The restaurant is packed during these times, which usually occur before the Broadway theaters open. Be sure to check the website for time restrictions.

The combination of good food, service and surroundings is worth a visit!

Story by Somah Persaud

Photos by Stephanie Weingart


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