Friday, January 30, 2015

Galley of The Dolls

Never say nyet to Mari Vanna's many infused vodkas


Los Angeles: so many Russian models, only one Russian nightclub to pick them up in.
If you’ve been around the Blok (and gotten shoulders colder than the Soviet state of 1947), it’s time to follow Moscow-born hearts (and stomachs) to the mother of all Russian restaurants: Mari Vanna
Make that grandmother of all Russian restaurants, as it looks like a cross between a doily-knitting dame’s place and a dollhouse. And the place unpacks like the set of stackable Babushka dolls you’ll see on the bookshelf: Overzealously flowered patio, living room, bar, parlor area with fireplace.

But it's not all for the babushkas. Let us clue you in, comrade...
What you’ll drink: house-infused vodkas (horseradish and watermelon are two shining examples) and Moscow Mules.

What you’ll eat: borscht, cured herring, caviar, and blinis. Come winter, warm up your ice queen with their hearty beef stroganoff, served with buckwheat and mushrooms in truffle oil. 

What you’ll hear: a live accordionist. Maybe a mobster. Probably not a mobster accordionist.
What you’ll discuss: Dostoyevsky, ice hotels, Dr. No, and what she thinks of lingonberry vodka.
What that will sound like: “We’ll take two shots of lingonberry vodka.”

Mari Vanna
8475 Melrose Pl. (at La Cienega), West Hollywood
(323) 655-1977

Price: 3 (out of 4)
Noise: 3 (out of 4)
Parking: Valet
Scene: Russian invasion meets moneyed Melrose diners
Best bets: Borscht; caviar; infused vodkas
Hot seat: Patio-side for summer, fireside in the parlor come winter
Nearby: Fig and Olive; Lucques; Comme Ca

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