Sunday, January 25, 2015

There Will Be Borscht

Ariana brings haute Russian dishes and drinks to SoHo


The Olympics might be over, but that doesn't mean you need give up on Mother Russia.
In fact, SoHo's new Russian spot Ariana is probably even better than Sochi, and not just because it has private toilets. Ariana's an elegantly appointed nod to the best of the old empire, with a menu to match.
As in, you'll want to bring a date here. That is, unless sharing a duo of chicken liver and foie gras and martinis with black caviar lollipops is just your usual after-work routine with the boys.
You'll recognize a few other Russian classics, too, but not the way you remember them. The velvety borscht is upgraded with a braised short rib, the stuffed cabbage is layered with lobster and beurre blanc, and the humble pelmeni (filled with roasted duck, of course) swim in a truffled cream sauce.
But let's get back to those drinks, because if Russians know anything, it's their spirits. Do as the locals do, diving into in-house, oak-aged infused vodkas with ingredients like dill smoked pineapple. Pair the shots with flavored waters (a customary Russian chaser), or go with one of the dozen martini options or the massive punch bowl filled with herbs, flambéed berries, and booze.

Drinking this much takes its toll in Russia, but we can handle it. Just remember to cab home.

140 W. Houston St. (Sullivan St.), SoHo
(646) 678-4334

Price: 3 (out of 4)
Noise: 1 (out of 4)

Subway: 1 to Houston St.
Scene: Surprisingly serene for a joint this vodka-fueled.
Nearby: Comodo; Little Prince; The Dutch

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