russian tea room
I went to the Russian Tea Room for brunch last Sunday, because my girlfriend wanted to do something excessive for her birthday. The party was 7. And excessive it was: $40 for brunch, and we were seated on the 2nd floor, with its bear-shaped fishtank, shiny colored-glass ceiling, stained glass on the wall, and a full-length mirror, with faux-wood borders branching into candelabras nearby.
I was fully satisfied with the food, though the prices will certainly prevent me from coming back of my own accord. I got the hot borsht as the first course. It was terrific. It contained what to me were perfectly-sized slices of excellent-quality beets, and plenty of beef, with sour cream and dill. It wasn't cheap ($12 IIRC), but it was big and good.
For my main course, I got blinchikis (Russian blintzes). The cheese blintz was nothing special, but the 2 fruit blintzes were terrific. One had dried apricots and other dried fruits inside, and the other had what tasted like a combination of raspberry and red currant jam inside. I can't remember what the sauce was, but I liked it.
I was stuffed and did not order dessert, but a selection of - can't remember the Russian name - cruellers with cream filling was brought.
I had had a pot of Georgian spiced tea while waiting for late arrivals (it was nothing special, though it came with some delightful raspberry jam), and its $3.75+tip tab helped account for the total $40 cost of my meal, including tax & tip.
Most of the other diners got a special smoked salmon egg dish for their main course. It consisted of pirozhki (thin pieces of dough) separating layers of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, and a top layer of salmon roe and sour cream. It was merely good, in my opinion - pleasant and made with good ingredients, but nothing unforgettable.
I don't think that anyone was dissatisfied with the food and experience, and the service was excellent. It's just that such an expensive brunch is not a thing to do all the time.