1 at 50th St.; C, E at 50th St.; B, D, E at Seventh Ave.
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"It's very...red" observed Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw when suitor Aleksandr Petrovsky asked what she thought of his lair-away-from-home, the Russian Samovar. The real Petrovsky, dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, is part-owner of this comfortably worn Theater District hideaway, decorated with a charming collection of eponymous samovars. Their quaintness contributes to an air of bourgeois grandeur in the banquette-lined main room, which off-screen is actually green in front at the bar—though decidedly red in back. Known for its flavored vodkas—at least a dozen herb and/or fruit infused varieties are available—there's also a full menu of Russian and Georgian fare for those looking to supplement a liquid diet. Stick to the classic comfort foods—borsht and pelmeni are sure bets—and relax with a crowd that's part pre-theater, part Russki social club, and part vodka-loving young professional. A warm welcome, live music most nights, and in the cooler months, a legendary poetry series maintains the spirit of Joseph Brodsky, who co-founded the Samovar with Roman Kaplan. The low buzz of laughter makes this a pleasant place to while away a few hours with friends—or, in the spirit of Carrie and Aleksandr, perhaps to romance a new interest, Russian style.Recommended Dishes
Cold borsht, $12; pan roasted sturgeon, $30; pelmeni, $19