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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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