Authentic Russian Restaurant?
I'm looking for the best authentic Russian restaurant in the LA area. Interesting vibe and patrons a must, as well. This is for a low key bachelor party where the groom prefers ethnic food and kitchy atmosphere. I've been to a Jewish/Russian wedding in LA where we were showered with plate after little plate of interesting morsels of food and a bottle of vodka was on every table. Something along the lines of this would be great!
I second Uzbekistan. The food has been very good every time I've been there. And the funny thing is that each time, there are one or two tables with very shady-looking KGB types talking in low voices. It adds to the atmosphere.
Traktir gets good reviews, although I've never been there.
You might also look into Russia Restaurant on Ivar in Hollywood. This is a perfect place for a group, as you can sample the many different items on the menu. It's kind of set up for larger groups. I went there alone for lunch once, and had a nice meal. But I wished I was with a group as the other table (1 other large occupied table in the place) got a whole feast of various things to try. But they have weird hours. If you are thinking about this place, I'd suggest calling them first and telling them you are having a celebration. Based on my experience I'll bet they'd love to have you and they may even arrange to have some Russian music performed (there's a stage in there).
There used to be a truly great Russian restaurant in the Bel Age hotel in WeHo. They closed down, but I still dream about it. The maitre-de there was larger than life. He made the place.
re: lil mikey
lil mikey - me too - I still think of Diaghalev - one of the finest restaurants I've ever been to. I was there many times for special occasions - what a treat. And Dmitri, the maitre'd was like a Russian Peter Lorre. And they used to have a gorgeous Russian chanteuse who's name I've forgotten, but with her singing, eating blinis and caviar, drinking their homemade flavored vodkas, this was like being at Maxim's in Paris.
Traktir might work. They host large parties that seem to consist of extended families every weekend. You would need to reserve in advance because they are usually full. It isn't huge and the patio is more fun but you have to expect smoke. I believe they offer set menus for larger groups. There vodka infusions are good and they would probably offer a reasonable corkage. It is inexpensive and puts you in walking distance of other bars, etc. if that is part of the plan.
Another vote for Traktir for lovely food and vodka...and defo make arrangements ahead of time.
Maybe not what you're looking for in terms of atmosphere, but the Russian drinking/eating theme reminds me of a fun place on the Redondo Beach Pier (btwn Naja's and Quality Seafood). They offer different style Russian beers (no vodka tho) and small plates of pelmeni, pirozki, belashi (Russian "hamburger" inside pastry-really good!), herring salad, savory crepes, etc.
136 N. International Boardwalk