Housed in two brownstones renovated to resemble a pre "A' Revolutionary St. Petersburg mansion, Firebird boasts eight dining rooms full of objects d'art and period antiques. Staples of the regional cuisine here range from caviar and zakuska (assorted Russian hors d'oeuvres) to tea with cherry preserves, and great desserts (an assortment of terrific Russian cookies steals the show). Don't fail to sample the extraordinary vodka selection. And the elegant caviar presentation-steaming hot blini drenched in butter, slathered with sour cream and filled with beluga, sevruga, or osetra by waiters in white gloves-is a giddy indulgence.
Address: 365 W. 46th St., between 8th and 9th Aves.
Phone: 212/586-0244. Reservations essential.AE, DC, MC, V. No lunch Sun.
Russian Tea Room
The late Warner Le Roy (famous for Tavern on the Green) created this posh Winter Palace of a restaurant. The first floor power scene is decorated with deep, red booths, year-round Christmas ornaments, and glistening ice sculptures. A clear, hollow acrylic bear in the second-floor dining room serves as an aquarium for the fish du jour. Fur coats flock to the bar to throw back frozen vodka and toast successful shopping sprees. There is so much glitz and glam that you almost forget about the food, a good thing considering much of it tastes like standard Bolshevik issue. The hearty borsch and tender short ribs are among your best bets. The oversize chicken kiev shoots butter across the room.
Address: 150 W. 57th St., between 6th and 7th Aves.
Phone: 212/974-2111. Reservations essential. AE, D, DC, MC