One thinks hard and seriously when trying to fine dine before the theater at Times Square, and since Will doesn't get to NYC as much as I do, I thought FIREBIRD at 365 West 46th Street on the famed Restaurant Row would be different, fun and hopefully innovative. I knew it was pricey, but we went in for sticker shock when the unexciting $49 pre-theatre prix fixe seemed a bit boring. So for an average of $15-20 per appetizer and $30-40+ per entree (desserts are $10, but always be aware of those supplements that haunt this menu; $8 for Bananas Foster!) we decided to brave the Russian cuisine and sit amongst the nostalgic Tsarist crystal (with double headed eagle emblems), photographs of the royal family ( we were next to Pavlova) and cozy banquettes for our pre-theater dinner last night.
The piano player seemed fine at first, but got worse at the evening progressed (he was displaced with lots of Tchaikovsky during his breaks) and the four types of bread seemed nice, but were cold parkerhouse rolls re-invented.
I started with an amazingly excellent TELYACHI GLANDI or a huge portion of CRISP SWEETBREADS with Wild Mushrooms in a Rich MADEIRA REDUCTION served atop an open Puff Pastry (termed "en croute"). This could have been an entree with a veggie on the side! Will chose the MANTI or minced lamb dumplings served in a mushroom consomme, that was lighter and less tasty, but not bad. A NEBBIOLO d'ALBA 2004 for PODERI DOLLA was a good buy in the high-$40's as most wines seemed to have a 4-5 times markup! I went into wine sticker shock, especially when a glass of wine was $13 for wine that normally costs $6-7 a bottle! This wine had nice light tannins, medium body and a nice slightly spicy flavor in the mouth with a hint of licorice. It was perfect with our entree of UKRANSKY BORSHCH or Ukranian style hot borscht, a beet and cabbage soup with Smoked Duck (1 slice), Pork, Beef Brisket, Sour Cream, Beets and "Others" which I guess was cabbage and mushrooms. This portion for $34 was filling after the appetizers, but quite small in the end.
Will enjoyed the WARM CHOCOLATE CAKE with Almond Ice Cream (I gave it a "C") and the coffee was quite nice, but only at $4.75 a cup (not including tax and tip!).
We asked the server why other folks got an amuse and we didn't and he went into apology mode. We only asked this since a woman sitting opposite us had decided to clear her amuse plate and place it on a tray near us. We started to observe her and her companion and it was the best part of the evening (even better than TARZAN the Musical!). She stabbed her bread with a fork and ate food from across the table and I am so sorry I left my videocam at home, as you would have all loved this--as would have UTUBE!
Anyway, our server came with HOUSE VODKA of iced honey vodka with 12 spice which was really great. This other couple saw us drinking it and ordered it as well!
The bathrooms of dark red marble with old Russian stock certificates was cute, but hardly worth the price.
So--don't even have a drink at FIREBIRD unless its this yummy house spiced vodka..and be ready to pay about $20 a glass with tax and tip!
EAT WELL and try to SAVE!