I'm looking for the best Russian restaurant experience in the NYC area. Open to any of the Boroughs. Want a good old fashioned Russian feast in a nice, Russian atmosphere (that caters to non-Russians as well). This is for a special occasion.
"Russian" style died along with the Stalin purges, so what we have access to is Soviet style cuisine, as post-Soviet is in development and hasn't made it here in any form yet. Therefore, a real Moscow-style evening can be had at any of the big party places on Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn. Try a few on mid-week nights, choose the one with the cooking most appealing to you, and then reserve for the weekend, when you have blaring Soviet pop music.
Try the Firebird in Manhattan on West 46th. It's expensive. Beautiful, fireplace, great art, etc. Homemade Vodka with cavier and blini is delicious.Next door is the firebird cafe with singers.
I tend to avoid Brighton Beach restaurants (even though I'm Russian) because they're tacky, unbearably loud, super expensive, with mediocre food at best and generally not worth it. All expensive "Russian" restaurants in Manhattan are usually either pseudo-Russian or Russian-French with the emphasis on French cuisine.
Now, I know of one good authentic Russian restaurant but it's in the middle of nowhere in Cliffside Heights, NJ. About 10min off George Washington Bridge. The name is Trio. It's quite small, food is absolutely authentic and delicious , service very friendly and they cater to both Russian and American clientelle. There's a band on the weekends (pop-music, not just Russian) and it's good for special occasions. Hope this helps.