Current Brighton Beach Russian Scorecard
A visiting aunt would like to tour Brighton, and in particular to partake of a late-afternoon Russian meal. Despite my distant ancestry and the fact that I live elsewhere in Brooklyn, I have little familiarity with the area beyond a childhood fondness for Mrs. Stahls knishes.
Chowhound and web searches seem to reveal, besides most everyone thinking that the food at Primorski is swell, that the places seem to fall roughly into three categories:
- Holes-in-the-wall with great food, e.g., the Espresso Café.
- Seaside cafes on the Boardwalk, of which Mr. Sietsema endorses Volna.
- Big-deal clubs where, for the most part (Primorski a seeming exception), the food is way secondary to the spectacle.
Id most appreciate current suggestions from among the first two groups.
Primorsky's is a big club... but everytime I've been there lately they been almost empty... they seem to have fallen out of favor with the russian community, though no one I ask at work admits that... therefore you can usually both walk in without a reservation, and the place may not be chock-a-block with people of all soviet nationalities (in it hay day, I saw moldavians, tadjic's, caucausians there not just Russians). I would peak my head in when you go... particularly if you go off weekend, and see if you can handle it... because the food is incredible... what ever you do, don't order the banquet which they now press on you because they are so empty. Order alacarte, it costs next to nothing, you'll still get enough food to take home for a week, and it will be incredible. The only other thing you should check for is the decible level of the band. That might be a problem particularly if you are seated anywhere near it...the music is great, international style... but the food is worth it if it's not too crowded... (and you can sit back abit from the music)... Now my mother would love it with crowd... by the way, take her also across the street to the massive Russian goods food store just to the left of the National... buy her a five foot lox...
If you do risk Primorsky's make sure to get the cold pickled appetizer, and the georgian bread... the lamb shaslik is great but almost everything else is too...
Hello gunning for bear. Your Espresso Cafe recommendations are sound. Your aunt sounds like she wants a nice stroll in the nabe rather than a big Russian club. Whenever my husband and I go to Brighton shopping (he is Ukrainian) that is where we stop to eat. I have tried many of the recommendations on these boards as well as others and they are definitely the best in Brighton for low key Russian eating.
I must admit I also love them because they let my dog sit under the table (he is not too big and very well behaved in public) but dont worry - i never saw anyone else do the same so you wont be surrounded by hounds. (ah but you will be...chowhounds hahahaha I amuse myself too easily at 3:00am)
Hope this isnt too late to be of use.