FIREBIRD Restaurant & Caviar Parlor: Food Fit For a Tzar

firebird ballroom

The Enchanting Ballroom, One Of Many Options For Dining

365 West 46th Street, Open seven days a week, from 5pm to 9pm Sunday through Tuesday, and 5pm to 11pm Wednesday through Saturday, with a pre-theatre prix-fixe menu available. Lunch is served Monday – Saturday from 11:45am–2:30pm. For more information,  call (212) 586-0244, visit their website at Website, Click Here, follow them on Twitter at @Firebirdnyc or Like FireBirdRestaurant on Facebook

FireBird, a Hell’s Kitchen mainstay, heralds a new era of Russian dining. The double-townhouse, vision of Baroness Irina von der Launitz, was conceived in opulence. Yearning for St. Petersburg, the Baroness implored her millionaire husband to recreate the magic of her homeland in a restaurant styled like a true Tzar’s manor, built around the theme of her beloved Russian Firebird ballet. From the imported furnishings to the walls of fine art and military portraits of the Baroness’ own family—and more than one baby grand piano—the manor transforms history into modern-day grandeur. Finished throughout with costumes and art from the 1910 Paris production of Firebird, it’s a resplendent celebration of culture—and cuisine—poised and polished for the next chapter.

firebird library

Our Favorite Room: The Civilized Library

It’s all led by Joe Valentine, just the Renaissance man to guide FireBird into its own rebirth. A true New Yorker, Joe’s life before food as a classically trained musician allowed him to see the world. When his family purchased FireBird, Joe returned to New York City with a vision to bring new sparkle to the family restaurant, and reawaken the classic space for a new generation of diners—while retaining the authentic beauty that made this a baroness’s dream realized. In his new role at the helm of FireBird, Joe has breathed new life into the celebrated space with vibrant new colors, patterns, upholstery, and of course, the menu.

firebird parlor

A Parlor Like No Other

Where else but in New York City can a few steps transport you to another world?

Sweep open the door and your eyes will go straight to the stately bar and its extraordinary array of crystalline vodka bottles—more than 200 types from around the world. You’ll then begin the tour of the manor: just as a St. Petersburg Tzar’s home would feature numerous rooms for all kinds of entertaining, each with a style all its own, FireBird, too, boasts an array of unique spaces. Head first for the opulent green-and-gold China Room, outfitted throughout with fine china and art. The Library Room lies beyond, centered around the golden apple tree of the Firebird fable, a focal point for dining in comfortable elegance.

firebird china room

The Opulent Green-and-Gold China Room

Ascend to the Parlor, where you’ll find impeccably refinished period furniture, a baby grand piano, and a cocktail, champagne and caviar lounge—just the place for an after-work cocktail or a post-theater bite. The Blue Room is bedecked in original 1910 Firebird ballet costumes won at a Sotheby’s auction, while the Ballroom sparkles in mirrors, crystal chandeliers and moonlight, streaming in from the skylight above.

firebird blue room

The Blue Room

Hold your most exclusive private events on the manor’s third floor, where you can dine under a portrait of Baroness Ivana herself in the richly decorated Red Room, or “Jewel of Russia” room, flooded in rosy light, or host in grand proportions in the LV Room—with access to a private roof garden with glittering city views.  FireBird will work with you to commission customized menus for each event— from à la carte to Russian family-style—live music, and even a private entrance with keys for your guests.

firebird caviar

You’ll Dine Like Modern Royalty, When You Start With FireBird’s Caviar Tasting

There’s no more refined Russian experience than a indulging in a flight of caviar, so begin with FireBird’s caviar tasting menu, ranging from classic to high luxury, served with traditional accoutrements: red onion, egg white, egg yolk and crème fraîche on mother-of-pearl spoons, and updated with buckwheat blini. Choose from selections like the Siberian Sturgeon, dark eggs with nutty, rich and grassy notes, or the rare Grinnel, a deep aubergine-colored roe with a fresh, citrus finish. To heighten the adventure, choose a Vodka Caviar Pairing, like the red or the black tasting.

The extensive vodka selection at FireBird—from rare imports to unparalleled housemade infusions—is a backbone of the manor’s destination-worthy status. Unique selections include an array of house-infused vodkas, such as the favorite Honey-Infused Vodka, opaque and golden with a long finish reminiscent of sweet herb and spice. Or sample rare imports like the Kazakhstani “Snow Queen”, or elite, small-batch Beluga Gold from Russia—all served in eye-catching spiral-cut frozen glass flutes.

firebird food1

And Now a New Chef Elevates The Kitchen To New Heights

Executive chef, Paul Joseph retained classic Russian recipes, but contemporizes them with modern riffs and quality ingredients. Never throwing the baby out with the bathwater, Chef Joseph maintains a steady hand with seasoning, presentation and a passion and care that is sure to bring Firebird to the forefront of the Manhattan dining scene, with one of the most serious kitchens in the theater district.

The modern Russian meal starts with zakuska, Russian for small plates, each an exquisite balance of lush and light. Start with Herring Under a Fur Coat, a beet-blushed tower of herring, carrots, potatoes and egg. An updated Olivier, a creation of Lucien Olivier of the 1860 French-influenced Hermitage in the center of Moscow, is a comfort-chic mélange of carrot, pickles, potato, and sausage, done decadently in mayonnaise.  Gravlax, house-cured with beets, is a striking red, and melts away under a drizzle of dill aioli.

FireBird reimagines Russian classic entrees like a Faberge-like rendition of Chicken Kiev, plated in a modern fashion and brought alive with ultra-tart cranberries and filled with butter, herbs and arugula purée, on a bed of kasha. Ours was part of an extensive tasting menu and was cleverly split in two, the shells brimming with glorious spring vegetables, displaying chef Joseph’s respect for lovers of the earth.

We also adored  Wild Black Bass, sided by  plump Marinated Prawns, Grilled Asparagus and a silky Parsnip Puree, sitting in a puddle of Roasted Pepper Sorrel Coulis. A new dish, Fennel Pollen Dusted Muscovy Duck Breast, in a Mashkitchiri, Honey Vodka Fondue was tender, moist and medium rare. The unctuous sauce was an incorporation of the house’s acclaimed Honey Vodka, a marriage made in Moscow.

Another heirloom recipe, the puff-pastry Salmon Kulebiaka, arrives as a luscious filet, baked with egg, sorrel spinach sauce and topped with a brilliantly flavorful citrus-fennel slaw.Our final entree was Armenian Lamb Rack & Filet Duo with a Potato Lardon Cake, Caramelized Root Vegetables and an intense Marchand de Vin Sauce. Perfectly grilled, no seasoning was required.

Naturally, the manor boasts an extensive wine cellar, with more than 200 bottles to choose from in the red cellar and over 100 whites. Wine selections draw from around the world, featuring both old and new world selections by the bottle and the glass. While big spenders can order the last bottle of a vintage Dom Per for about $1,200 bucks, value seekers will rejoice in the discovery of some pleasant Spanish bottles under $40 and the terrific presentation beer in grand chilled glasses.

Finish with a classic dessert performance: Bananas Foster bring a tableside show to the end of the night, flambéed to rich, caramel sweetness and served over ice cream. Or try FireBird’s reinvention of a favorite Russian candy, the Ptichva Moloko, or Bird’s Milk: think mallomars, served atop delicate almond cake.

Whatever you do, don’t miss a tall glass of piping hot Russian tea, accompanied by a pot of thick cherry jam.

Besides nightly dining and exclusive event rooms, Firebird will soon offer brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays, afternoon High Tea service, and guided weekend caviar tastings.

For an of evening class, civility, superb service and food worthy of the occasion, not to mention the delightful woman who greets you at the entrance and the hands-on management, Firebird is the Theater District’s Stravinsky of luxury dining.


Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


Continue reading “FIREBIRD Restaurant & Caviar Parlor: Food Fit For a Tzar”


FIORINI RESTAURANT 209 East 56th Street New York, NY 10022T: 212.308.0830F: 212.308.9399 On Monday, April 16, Fiorini, the regional Italian midtown restaurant (209 East 56th Street — between 2nd & 3rd Avenues) owned by acclaimed restaurateur/chef Lello Arpaia, will launch a month-long Neapolitan Festival, the first in an ongoing Regional Italian Culinary Series. Lello, […]

Girasole Vineyards: Made with organically grown grapes & Vegan friendly.

Girasole Vineyards releases 2010 wines in a bright new package. Organically produced, here is great value for under $20.

The chardonnay displayed surprising balance, good acidity and subtle fruit. Unexpectedly full-bodied for a chard, it was a charmer.

2010 Chardonnay2010 Girasole Vineyards Chardonnay

New Release!

Light straw in color with alluring aromas of lemon-lime, kiwi and Granny Smith apples. A creamy entry fills the mouth with vanilla custard and shortbread cookies, which are framed beautifully by just a slight kiss of toasty French oak.  This clean, fruit driven wine is sure to please even the most discriminating palates.  Serve slightly chilled with seafood, creamy pastas and poultry dishes. SRP: $13.

Made with organically grown grapes & Vegan friendly.

Wine Specs



Vineyard DesignationEstate grown/CCOF certified organic



FermentationStainless w/ minimal oak influence

Bottling Date11/11

Alcohol %13.5

Wine Profile

Production Notes100% Chardonnay

Food Pairing NotesThis lightly oaked wine is perfect with egg dishes, also with seafood, creamy pastas and poultry. Pair it with your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe, and be sure to try it with a spinach dish.

Production2,000 cases

2010 Girasole Vineyards Pinot Noir2010 Girasole Vineyards Pinot Noir

2010 Pinot Noir
Their newest release in redesigned packaging! This 2010 Pinot Noir offers wonderful aromas of strawberry, cherry and clove give way to sweet red cherries on the palate.

This 2010 Girasole Pinot Noir exhibits hues of red roses and ruby jewel tones. Wonderful aromas of strawberry, cherry and clove give way to sweet red cherries on the palate. A touch of new French oak lends texture and helps frame the wonderful sweet red fruit that radiates from this wine, and that classic Mendocino mineral backbone carries it to a long and lingering finish. This wine will pair wonderfully with braised duck breast with a cranberry reduction, or plank grilled salmon with garlic mash potatoes. Of course, pulling a cork and having a glass or two on the porch would work too!  SRP: $16.
Made with organically grown grapes & Vegan friendly.

Wine Specs


VarietalPinot Noir


Vineyard DesignationEstate grown/CCOF certified organic



Alcohol %13.5

Wine Profile

Food Pairing NotesThis fruit-forward wine pairs well with lean beef, lamb and pork dishes, especially grilled or roasted, and is a natural with ahi tuna. Try it with grilled mushrooms, too.


Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


Continue reading “Girasole Vineyards: Made with organically grown grapes & Vegan friendly.”

Restaurant Loi Transportes The Sunny Cuisine of The Aegean to The Upper West Side In Style

Restaurant Loi

208 West 70th Street


Chef Loi’s Blog

October 2011 opening,

Loi interior

The scent of Spanakopita straight from the oven, freshly wrapped grape leaves and the sweet aroma of Baklava wafts its way onto West 70th Street, as one of Greece’s top chefs, Maria Loi, works her magic in the kitchen at her new restaurant . . . Loi.

Formally Compass, the well reviewed venue with a bevy of revolving chefs and menus, Loi has garnered attention from some of the city’s most well respected foodies and critics alike.Chef Loi aims to offer guests a blend of her warm personal charm combined with her modern approach to authentic Greek cuisine in a casually elegant setting starting with a trendy bar with twinkling votive candles, followed by two glass-enclosed private rooms, leading to the square bi-level main dining room,with its comfortable seating and earthy beige color scheme. The space has subtle lighting and is sectioned with high pillars of beige and purple. Terracotta floors, striped fabric armchairs and walls hung with pictures of sea-scenes complete the picture. Maître d’ John  oversees the operation with obvious professionalism.

At a chef owned and run restaurant (well co-owned in this case with managing partner Don Evans),food is an extension of the cook’s persona, and should be the focus. And so it clearly is at Loi. While perusing the menu, you are served gratis stuffed grape leaves with a zesty yogurt sauce and assorted bread to dip in fragrant olive oil. The breads are addictive (especially the homemade flat bread and a thick, grainy wedge with a hint of sweetness). The Dolmades (grape leaves) are the best we have ever tasted . . . and that includes experiencing them in numerous trips to Greece.

Other small plates that deserve signature acclaim, include Maria’s ahini sea urchin appetizer. Beautifully presented on a series of large porcelain spoon, in a heady lemon-oil sauce, they are divine. More earthy and described as baked meat “patties,”  keftedaika meatballs,In Caramelized Tomato Sauce With Feta Mousse Sauce were honest and delicious.

In the entrée department chef Loi’s “traditional” moussaka, delicately prepared with Eggplant, With Minced Meat, Topped With Bechamel Sauce, and Slow Cooked is a must. It was light and very much like the contemporary Greek food one would have experienced at  trendy, restaurants in Athens.Indeed, much of the food is updated to today’s taste, and  fortunately, flavor is never sacrificed. We also enjoyed Braised Lamb Shank With Anthotiro & Kalabokisio (Corn Puree), which tasted rather like a refined version of grits. Roasted, marinated beets were very good and although we didn’t get a chance to sample the Fresh Fish, Baked in Sea Salt “For Two” Accompanied With Charred Grilled Seasonal Vegetables, the people at the next table ordered it and  appeared delighted.

The formidable wine list of Compass has been replaced with a shorter, mostly Greek version offering well priced bottles, many in the $40 to $60 range. Our waiter suggested a chardonnay from chef Loi’s personal selection: a 2009 Karapidis, from organic grapes and aged 6 months in oak ($75). It was delicate, with subtle fruit and great balance. Probably the best buy on the list. Brothers Lazaros and Pantelis Karipidis began their wine venture as a hobby in 1985. Their decidedly cosmopolitan wines and upmarket image have made them leaders in the industry.

Don’t miss the desserts. Besides the obligatory Baklava, go for the unusual Ekmck KatJifi. Ek-mek Ka-tai-Ifi: Shredded Phyllo Soaked in Honey Topped with Custard, Toasted Nuts and Light Crème. Reminiscent of a Greek tiramisu, we loved it..Finish with wonderful Greek coffee and an ouzo and you have the ideal dinner.

loi DOLMADAKIA Stuffed grape leaves

The Giveaway Stuffed Grape Leaves (Above) Set The Stage


Other Appetizer Teasers (Below)



Until recently, Maria hosted her very own cooking show, which ran for years, on Greece’s most successful morning program, and the country’s leading TV network, Mega Channel. She is also the author of several cookbooks, including the highly coveted “Ancient Dining,” the official cookbook of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. She visits each table, during the evening and stopped at ours briefly.

Small wonder Loi has quickly become a neighborhood favorite and is a destination worth seeking, out, for those seeking elevated, Greek cuisine with a personal touch. Our visit preceded Easter and there was a lamb on a spit, cooking in front of the restaurant. It was a Saturday evening and business was booming. The fragrant lamb must have been a metaphor for the sweet smell of success.

Interestingly, of all Manhattan’s luxury Greek restaurants, Loi offers attractive value. There is even a pre fixe dinner (5 to 6:30 PM) for $40. Reserve well in advance. It’s standing room only.


Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


Continue reading “Restaurant Loi Transportes The Sunny Cuisine of The Aegean to The Upper West Side In Style”

5 Tips for Booking a Private Jet Flight for Your European Vacation

              Private travel expert outlines important differences from commercial travel Where will your vacation take you this summer? London? Paris?The French Riviera? If you want to fly by private jet, it’s not too early to start planning. Booking a private jet flight to Europe requires very special expertise. There are dozens of fees, permits and […]

Merlot di San Leonardo, Demonstrates Italy’s Excellence With This Grape

Merlot di San Leonardo

Merlot di San Leonardo
Wine: Merlot di San Leonardo

Region: Trentino

Oenologist: Carlo Ferrini

Grapes: 100% Merlot

Vineyards location: Adige valley

Extension: 20 ha

Orientation: south

Altitude: 750 ft

Vine training: Guyot and Pergola

Soil: well-drained gravel and soil

Total production (btls): 45,000

Vinification: Grapes are destemmed and soft-crushed, with minimal use of sulphur dioxide. The juice ferments and macerates on the skins for a long period of time, during which the cap is punched down daily. The must is cold-clarified by allowing the lees to settle.

Ageing: For 18 months in 60-hectolitre Slavonian oak barriques. In the bottle for at least four months before release onto the market.

This wine has a  brilliant ruby red, with attractive depth and decent length. The aromas are alcohol and fruit-rich when the wine is young, later mellowing with bottle age into ripe plum fruit layered over a faintly grassy background note. Dry, soft and well-balanced on the palate, it reveals a pleasing bitterish twist in the finish. Good aromatic length. A classic food wine with rice and pasta in tomato or meat sauces such as lasagna, and meat or cheese filled pasta, as well as grilled and stewed meats, poultry, white meats and soft cheeses.



Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


Continue reading “Merlot di San Leonardo, Demonstrates Italy’s Excellence With This Grape”


Here’s a bundle of exclusive luxury with links included Hotel Les Mars – Healdsburg, California, USA Hotel Les Mars Evokes Romantic French Charm in Sonoma Wine Country, California Hotel Les Mars is the finest destination for travelers who want to experience California wine country in lavish comfort. Resting among the hills of the Russian River […]









Hugh Dancy and Nina Arianda

Photo by Jason Bell

    VENUS IN FUR, the acclaimed new play now at the Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street), announces HOT NIGHTS ON BROADWAY a special $99 value package that includes a ticket to the hit play, a post-show creative conversation featuring some of the country’s leading relationship experts speaking with members of the VENUS IN FUR creative team, and two complimentary post-event drinks at Nios Restaurant (146 West 46th Street).

    HOT NIGHTS ON BROADWAY will be held on selected Wednesday evenings starting Wednesday, April 25 and each creative conversation will be moderated by publisher, producer, and talk show host Judith Regan (“The Judith Regan Show” on Sirius/XM’s Stars channel).

    The HOT NIGHTS ON BROADWAY package can be purchased at or by calling 212-974-8844 and using code “TALKFUR.” The offer is valid for select Orchestra and Front Mezzanine seats during the evening performances of April 25, May 2, and May 9 only. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. Offer may be modified or revoked at any time without notice.

    Below is the schedule of experts and creative team members currently scheduled to appear:


    Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.