Every Monday at 9pm a restaurant in their very best Russian traditions closes its doors for their special guests. Mari Vanna, a homely Russian restaurant in the heart of Flatiron gives out keys to their most valued customers. "Key Mondays" at Mari Vanna was created by the owners not as to keep clientele out, but to make their regulars feel welcome and at home. The name Mari Vanna was created as a reference to a fairytale Russian grandmother who welcomed hungry travelers into her home and gave frequent visitors a key for a cozy retreat. Mari Vanna's decor with old school flowery wallpaper, and entertainment in the face of tall beautiful Russian women accompanied by a guy playing old Russian tunes on his accordion had created a one of a kind atmosphere for all New Yorkers who were looking for a taste of Russia in the Big Apple. Exquisite chandeliers sparkle on the ceiling and the shelves are filled with good old Russian classics and stacked matryoshka dolls. Guests are quickly transported into the Soviet Union era where all neighbors kept their doors open for each other and babushka’s always made hot tea in the finest china cups and offered varenye for their close friends and family.

Mari Vanna’s menu offers its customers all the classical Russian dishes and appetizers such as borstch and Olivier salad, famous for being everyone’s favorite on New Years Eve table. Each table has a crystal bowl of sushki, a famous Russian tea bread and of course what kind of party would it be if a Russian restaurant did not have caviar on that list? Mari Vanna’s menu is topped off with a dish that includes a delicious Russian blinis plate accompanied by a choice of red or black Petrossian caviar. Besides food the restaurant offers an impeccable drink menu, with vodka, of course. But their vodka is not just plain and boring vodka, Mari Vanna offers their house blends with a choice of horseradish, oats and honey, apricot, and cucumber dill infusions.

For newcomers who have not been to Mari Vanna just yet, you can try your luck any Monday by ringing one of the doorbells and wait for the beautiful hostess to open the door for you. To those that have a key, are encouraged to come in for an exclusive party with a dj playing on the upper floor. Aside from having many loyal customers in New York City, Mari Vanna also opened its doors for lovers of Russian cuisine in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Los Angeles, London, and Washington D.C. And if you already have a key, you can use it at any of the locations!

Author: Ellen Prohorovskaya (New York)
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Tags: mari vanna

KANEL 
12 November 2013