Has anyone had any experience with these Brighton Beach / Sheepshead Bay Russian dinner clubs? I've been itching for a night out with all the chintz, vodka and smoked fish that i can take and need advice. The guy who cuts my hair has a favorite named Intrenzanal (sp?) and he is very enthusiastic about the banyas nearby -- with that in mind, all I need now is advice from a food / scene perspective... any thoughts are, needless to say, appreciated. Many thanks.
re: Nina Wugmeister
Wow, is there one called the International as well as The National? Because the one I went to is called The National, I'm almost positive.
The food is just so awful, but I thought it was really fun. It answered the question I'd always wanted to know: "Do Russians love J. Lo?" They sure do!
I went to a swell birthday bash at Pyramid in Brooklyn--not at Brighton, though--and it was tons of fun. big, brash, with a russian M.C., traditional russian party music (i.e. "loud"), really quite good food (but the cranberry vodka was Finalndia--close but not exactly right). And, of course, guys doing "deals" outside on the sidewalk. Almost like being in the Olde Country. There were two other b-day parties that night and the whole place was blotto---imagine that. "Russians being Russians" as an admirer likes to say.
Had several nice meals at the chintz places you describe in Brighton but I can't recall a name. Just take cash and haggle on the price a bit.
If you find a decent banya, please let us know!
I have been to Rasputin's on Coney Island Ave several times with large groups. It sounds like the kind of experience you are looking for. Smoked meats and fish followed by a main course, all the vodka you could possibly drink and incredibly kitchy and entertaining floorshow followed by dancing.
Been to Rasputin and International. Rasputin has a better show, International has bigger portions of slightly better food. Music is same at both places. You have to drink *lots* of vodka to enjoy this experience ;-)
I went to one called Odessa in Brighton Beach. At least I think it was called that, the two bottles of Stoly we drank during dinner didn't help. It was hillarious, with a smoke machine going on behind the dance band. I'm sure there are others with much better food - ask someone Russian.
My only recommendation is to go on a Friday or Saturday night. We went on Thursday night, and it was completely dead. 90% of the enormous dining room was empty, and nobody was dancing.