A bar wishlist post in honor of my 21st birthday
Pravda describes itself as a “an underground Caviar Bar that prides itself in serving the best Cocktails and Martinis,” which is probably why they looked at me and my underage crew like we were crazy when we said we were just there to have dinner, not drinks.
A group of three Serbs – my childhood bestie (a current NYU student), my sister and I – were compelled to check out Russian Pravda, because of our countries’ Slavic connections. To get into the establishment, you need to go down stairs, open a door and slip through red velvet curtains. You step into a rediscovered Soviet speakeasy. The bar seems like an abandoned bomb shelter that was just recently uncovered.
Aged mirrors line the walls, worn down leather chairs occupy corners of the room, and Cyrillic words linger above archways. Low, barrel vaulted ceilings make you think you’re in a cave or a subway station. Numbered lights really make you think you’re in a subway station.
For my meal, I had the Lamb Shashlik ($20) which was served on rice with minty yogurt on the side and garnished with dill. The combination of the tangy, cold yogurt with the lamb was playful and interesting. Each piece of lamb was served on a caramelized onion petal, which I really liked. The dish was definitely better than ramen.
The Kale Caesar Salad (no longer on the menu) was quite a sight. The kale was piled high on the plate like an emerald haystack. It was a delicious and refreshing take on an American classic.
The Crispy Potato Pancakes ($18) are topped with Scottish smoked salmon, caviar and dill. They were delicious according to my friend who ordered them. She says the salmon was salty but really good.
Due to a Mr. Bean episode in which the namesake character gets violently ill from spoiled oysters, I stay away from this seafood. However, the Crispy Oysters ($18) were quite photogenic. The white shells, magenta horseradish, yellow fried oysters and orange salmon roe look quite beautiful together. The batter supposedly helped mask the oyster’s flavor.
While the food was pricy and not all that Russian, Pravda is one of the coolest eating establishments I have been to. The decor really makes you feel like you’re no longer in New York. I am definitely coming back for drinks now that I’m 21!
In case you were wondering, Pravda translates to “true,” or if used as an exclamation, can be slang for “yeah!”
THE BOTTOM LINE:
281 Lafayette Street (Soho)
New York, NY 10012