Friday, June 3, 2011

Rasputin: Flash, Fun And Russian-Inspired Grub!

By: Anne M. Raso

Brighton Beach, Brooklyn is the home to the swanky Rasputin Restaurant and Entertainment Center and to be honest, at $75 to $145 for their prix fixe dinners (which include an extravagant floor show complete with gypsy dancers), the facility seems to be used mainly for special occasions like weddings and birthday parties. We recently stopped in on a Saturday night and were pleasantly surprised at how opulent (in a classy, modern way) the surroundings were--kind of if P. Diddy opened up a supper club in a Russian “nabe”!

We sampled about a dozen of the dishes that Rasputin has to offer from the "Noble Banquet" menu. The fare is not necessarily Russian, more like Russian-inspired, although the various cold salads served to start off the personal feast at each table consists of pickled julienne and fresh whole vegetables, organic baby greens (with Vinaigrette Romanoff dressing on the side), cole slaw (a more gourmet version than your standard type with no mayo added), chicken salad (with peas and carrots) and crab salad surrounded by boiled shrimp. This may seem boring but it's not--with any of the banquet menu selections, the staff comes at you with six or seven different items that are prepared in an nouvelle cuisine manner (for instance, the crab salad had a bit of a fiery kick). Each salad dish is enough to get full on, so you have to pace yourself--these are the hugest portions outside of an Austin BBQ restaurant!
Crab Salad
As for some of the other sides, we also tasted a lovely roasted mushroom and potato dish (so large that we had to take half of it home) and the fabulous beef, mushroom and cheese pierogies (that were encased in flaky pastry as opposed to the more traditional pasta dough).
Mushroom and Potatoes
Moving on to the entress, we had the mixed grill of bone-in lamb chops and well-seasoned tender chicken kebobs (with a side of "Smashed Parmiggiano" potatoes on the plate). There was then a tender quail with tangy fruit sauce that my dining partner felt was the best dish of the evening--maybe I am boring, but the gently spiced chicken kebobs were the fave for me -- it was so tender and juicy -- for sure that's where I'd put my money!
Quail with Fruit Sauce
Lamb Chops and Chicken Kabobs
We concluded our dinner with a huge "Feast Of Seasonal Fruits & Berries"--a standard plate of fresh cut pineapple, watermelon, blueberries and strawberries and "Pastry Chef Albina's Banquet du Patisserie," which included tart size versions of tiramisu, strawberry mousse, chocolate mousse and cheesecake all encased in a buttery crust. It's hard to get dessert down after all those appetizers and entrees, but we would pick the tiramisu tart as the clear winner on the "Banquet du Patisserie" plate!
Pastry Chef Albina's Banquet du Patisserie!
The floor show starts at 10pm, so many diners get to Rasputin at nine to not only start on their lengthy dinner but to enjoy the guitar player who plays everything from classic rock to "classic" Russian to prerecorded tracks. The floor show that starts at 10pm includes Cirque Du Soleil type high drama stunts as well as classic Las Vegas showgirl dancing with a touch of "goth" (many of the dances have themes, some romantic, some a bit mysterious)--and everyone in the show looks like a high fashion runway model or like they just walked off a Calvin Klein underwear billboard. There is a 30-something MC who not only sings but announces what's happening in each corner of the room, whether it's a birthday, engagement or bachelorette party--and he does a great job of movie things along. The guests--who seem to be about 80 percent Russian--are "dressed to the nines" and could out-rival the cast of Sex & The City for largest quantity of Manolo Blahniks and Christian Louboutins owned!

2670 Coney Island Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 332-8111
Rasputin on Urbanspoon

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