Tag Archives: brighton beach

Aluminum Sculptures on The B/Q Platform, Brighton Beach Subway Stop

Brighton Beach Subway Sculptures
All Photos By Gail

These free-form, abstract Aluminum sculptures are part of a series called Mermade/Dionysus and the Pirates, created in 1999 by artist Dan George for the MTA’s Arts for Transit program. I think they are pretty cool!

Brighton Beach Subway Sculptures

I took these photos on the Q Train platform when catching the train back to Manhattan from the Brighton Beach stop in Brooklyn. See more photos at This Link.

Restaurant Review: Vis a Vis, French-Inspired Fine Dining in Brighton Beach

Front of House
Photos By Gail and Anne Raso

When you think of visiting Brighton Beach, Brooklyn as a dining destination, what usually comes to mind is enjoying some of the finest Russian cuisine that you can find stateside. The surprise is that there’s a new fine dining restaurant in Brighton Beach called Vis a Vis that specializes in Global Contemporary Cuisine rooted in French techniques, and it’s worth the trip all the way in from Manhattan just to check it out. We dined at Vis a Vis on a Sunday evening just a couple of weeks back, when the restaurant’s doors had only been open for three weeks, and were pleasantly surprised that they already appear to be getting everything right!

Vis a Vis Bar Scene Darker

Vis a Vis features two distinct dining spaces. The front of the house flaunts gorgeous, plush red velvet seating, a lively bar scene and a bit of a night club vibe once the DJ takes over with modern House Music. Sunday Brunch turns into a real party atmosphere and everybody has a great time! We’d recommend making your dinner reservations post 7 PM on a weekend  if you’d prefer a quieter atmosphere, as the music and festivities can bleed over into the equally elegant but considerably calmer adjoining dining room, which looks like this:

Vis a Vis Dining Room

In this refined setting, the focus is very much on excellent food and first class services. At the helm of the Vis a Vis‘ kitchen is multi-award winning Chef Charles Disanayake, who hails from Sri Lanka. Having studied under Anita Lo (Top Chef Masters) at her Michelin-starred Annisa restaurant, Chef Charles has launched multiple restaurants around the world. Aside from his impressive work at Vis a Vis, he is well known for his exclusive New York supper club dinners, and catering services for private and corporate events. Chef Charles‘ creative finesse and finely-honed culinary skills are apparent from the first bite of any dish he prepares as Vis a Vis. It was a great pleasure to meet and speak with him on the evening of our visit.

Chef Charles Disanayake
Chef Charles

The menu offers so many tempting specialties that it was hard to make a final decision on the evening’s dishes, but let me tell you about what we ended up ordering.

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Rasputin Restaurant & Cabaret: A Taste of Russia!


Welcome to Rasputin! ( Image Source)

On the topic of a visit to Brooklyn’s famous Russian hotspot, Rasputin Restaurant & Cabaret, whether you read an online review or ask people who’ve been there what to expect, what you’ll likely hear is that you are in for a real “Experience” – capital E intentional. Rasputin successfully combines an evening of multi-course fine dining with a full sensory night of entertainment that progresses from live singers to a Las Vegas Style floor show to an afterhours disco inferno. Every step of the way you can immerse yourself in an authentic slice of Russian American culture.

Pomegranate Bliss Cocktail: Drink a few of these to start the night off right! (All Photos By Anne Raso)

Upon arriving, my friend Anne and I were greeted warmly by the manager, Serge, who promptly seated us at the “best seats in the house” –  one of two tables arranged at the front of a beautiful, horseshoe-shaped second floor balcony overlooking the stage, dance floor and all the diners down below. From where we sat, we felt like we were spying on a very lavish wedding feast and its accompanying reception; and though we were slightlyremoved from the immediate festivities (being seated away from the dance floor) we felt very much a part of the jubilant atmosphere permeating Rasputin on a Saturday night.  It did seem apparent that many people come to Rasputin specifically to celebrate a special occasion (birthday, anniversary or whatever), or at the very least to just enjoy dining with a large group of friends. With the plentiful food served family-style on huge platters, this place is the ideal venue for a one-stop festive evening of dining and dancing.

An evening at Rasputin is as much about the entertainment as it is about the food, and while the two take place simlutaneous, let’s get to the food first. Since there were just two of us, the restaurant staff tailored one of the simpler “banquet” menus to accommodate our small party. I would recommend dining at Rasputin with a minimum party of four, because this place definitely has a “the more the merrier” vibe, which is reflected in the menu’s array of “banquet” prix fix menus ranging in price and extravagance from The Noble Banquet, which we were served ($75 pp Friday and Sunday, $100 pp Saturdays and Special Events) up to the Banquet Rasputin ($145 pp Friday and Sunday, $165 Saturdays and Special Events). Each Banquet features literally dozens of dishes including appetizers, first and second courses, entrees and desserts – so no one is leaving hungry, that is for sure. They do offer an ala carte menu, but if you really want to taste a lot of different Russian foods, as we did,  you’ll get the best value by choosing one of the banquets. Drinks are another matter entirely. Anne and I cut ourselves off after two cocktails, but it is customary to order a bottle of vodka chilled on ice for the table and just let it flow freely throughout the evening.

Our first courses consisted of an array of mayonnaise-based salads such as potato salad with boiled eggs and vegetables, chicken salad studded with sliced grape tomatoes (seasoned with just a pinch cayenne pepper) and a delicious shredded crab salad served with boiled shrimp (pictured above). Of note was a delicious selection of Seared Ahi Tuna with a Sesame Seed Crust served with Creamy Wasabi Sauce that was absolutely mouthwatering. The hot foods were up next!

Yukon Gold Potatoes & Mushrooms a la Moscow were hearty and delicious.

Parisian Pierogi stuff with Mushrooms, Meat and Cheese. The flaky croissant pastry elevated these pierogis to a level above the boiled or fried variety that you’ll find at a Ukrainian diner such as Veselka.

Roasted Quail with Wild Rice: The bird was tiny but tender.

Next up: Lambchops and Chicken Kabob with Whipped Potatos. The chicken was super tender while the lamb came off the bone easily and was perfectly juicy. The fresh rings of raw onion added a kick of flavor.

A “light” dessert of mixed fresh fruit and mini, mousse filled pastries was challenging to sample because we were so stuffed from all of the delicious foods we’d already indulged in. Most of the portions could have easily fed two more people. Fortunately, our attentive waiters were happy to pack up most of our leftovers so that the feast could continue the next day.

And now, a few words about the entertainment!

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