It was time to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday so I took her to a restaurant that I had passed many times and thought looked interesting enough to try.
That restaurant was Mari Vanna which is located at 41 E. 20th Street off Park Avenue South.
As described in the About Section on the restaurant’s web site, Mari Vanna is a mythical woman who lived in St. Petersburg a very long time ago. She was know for her warm hospitality and everyone was welcomed as a guest in her home. Her guests were treated to traditional Russian dishes, and she used her finest china and linens. No guest ever left Mari Vanna’s home disappointed and they were always made to feel a part of Mari Vanna’s family.
Today you can find Mari Vanna in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.
As you step into her doorway, you do find yourself in a different place and time. You feel that you are in a Russian apartment decorated with old photographs, Matrioshka dolls, dazzling chandeliers, dim candlelight and quiet Russian music in the background. All this makes you feel that you are in your Russian grandmother’s apartment and it definitely feels very mythical.
Here are some photos of the inside…
So black pumpernickel bread was put on the table along with a dish of butter and herb dill. There was also sea salt and radishes along with a scallion.
So what did I wind up ordering?
I wasn’t that hungry and so I decided to order Pirozhki from the Hot Appetizer section of their menu. Pirozhki are small Russian pies stuffed with meat, cabbage or potatoes. I chose to have one with meat and one with potatoes.
Now I know that it doesn’t look like much but each Pirozhki was generously filled with either meat or potatoes and with the bread and butter and salt and radishes-it was really enough!!
Then I ordered black coffee. But look how lovely the container for the Sweet and Low and Sugar Packets on the left are and the bowel for the sugar cubes. Their attention to maintaining that Mari Vanna apartment was really well done.
And check out the doily under the coffee cup!
But what really put a smile on my face was the way that the bill came.
All keeping in the theme of that cozy mythical Russian Apartment with Mari Vanna.