Walking to Brighton Beach along the boardwalk for some outdoor Russian dining has been a tradition for me after Siren. This time I went with my half-Russian friend Todd and in search of Tatiana. He told me Jason Schwartzman went there on Bored to Death and it looked exciting. I’ve only been to the two restaurants next to Tatiana, which is Tatiana Grill and Cafe Volna. I’ve always had a good time at those places and one of them has the whole indoor floor as a litted aquarium.
So as Todd went to the bathroom and I asked for an outdoor table, they told me to sit anywhere. There were plenty of tables and I went to the first one. The table was big and a waiter told me I couldn’t sit there. Then he asked a waitress where I can sit and she said “I don’t know. Over there!” So I walked to the other side and picked the smallest table. Another waiter came by and said I couldn’t sit there. I said I have two and just tell me where to sit. He said there’s a $15 minimum per person. I said no problem. He looked around and sat me at the table next to it. It was the exact same size table, minus a chair. Todd came back and said he asked if we can sit inside and they gave him a look like we didn’t belong.
I had Todd order for us. Pelmeni and potato Vereniki dumplings and Kupaty sausages. Yeah, they were good. I just couldn’t figure out how this all amounted close to $80 after tip with a beer each. And now I see that they already charged us a service charge on the bill and then ask for a tip on the credit card slip. Tricky. We did wait forever for our waiter to pick up the check. I almost felt like now they didn’t want us to leave. When the waiter did finally come by, Todd said “come on…” and the waiter who was three times his size looked at him. I thought there was going to be an ass beating.
Now that we’re back and I read this reader review on NYMag and watched that episode of Bored to Death, apparently service is supposed to be that way for gringos. Why the hell did Todd want to go there? Maybe for the nightclub show inside. We could see through the window. It looked like a euro-trash dance club. I can’t believe we were not welcomed? Now I know what it feels like to be black …at a Russian restaurant.
Tatiana Restaurant – 3152 Brighton 6th St (btwn E Boardwalk & Brightwater Ct) Brooklyn, NY 11235
And here’s the kicker. Our waiter is in that episode of Bored to Death …That fat fucker.
Wow, that’s some intimidating service. How could I eat in peace then? Do you prefer this restaurant over the rows of Polish places in E. Village?
Food is probably better at this Russian restaurant and the experience is more interesting, but the East Village Polish restaurants are definitely the better value.
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