Diner Michael Pellet recently celebrated his second anniversary with his wife at Washington, D.C.’s 701 Restaurant. When booking through OpenTable, he indicated exactly that in the Special Request for the Maitre D. The wonderful hospitality pros at 701 took note and presented the couple with some Champagne. (Insert a collective “AWWW!” here.) Happy anniversary to the Pellets. And, kudos to the staff at 701 for making their celebration all the more special with this generous gesture.
There are thousands of reviews on OpenTable, but sometimes one really stands out — as is the case with this charming review. This diner visited the Black Bass Hotel in Lumberville, Pennsylvania, 50 years (!) after his very first visit, during which he proposed to his companion. A half a century later, the pair are still going strong — as is the Black Bass Hotel. Congratulations to both on many years of excellence.
The Russian Tea Room, one of New York City’s most storied restaurants, turned 85 this year. In a city that never sleeps and boasts an ever-changing landscape, this is no small feat, especially if you consider that during a brief period in the early 2000s, the restaurant was sold to the United States Golf Association (see Heck?, What the), destined to become a museum of sorts for the iron-swinging set. If you’ve ever been to the Russian Tea Room (and, really, if you have not, you must go. Now. That’s a direct order.), you can understand the monumental loss this would have been to foodies and vodka connoisseurs everywhere, not to mention the city itself.
A cultural and culinary salon for an array of artists since opening its doors in 1927, the Russian Tea Room, or RTR, is also a touchstone for New Yorkers and guests from around the globe alike. From its early heyday as a stomping ground for Russian ex-pats and the likes of George Balanchine and Ayn Rand to its place as a dining destination for high society and Hollywood royalty, it remains one of the most recognizable restaurants in the world. It’s been featured in films including Manhattan, Sweet Smell of Success, Tootsie, The Turning Point, Big, Smurfs, and New York Stories, among others. It’s also influenced films: When Harry Met Sally was conceived at one of the restaurant’s posh booths. A favorite with television programs as well, you can see RTR’s signature dining room in episodes of Louie, Gossip Girl, Real Housewives of New York, and Real Housewives of New Jersey. The Russian Tea Room continues to attract celebrities and influencers, including Mariah Carey, Bill and Hilary Clinton, Anderson Cooper, Keira Knightly, Paul McCartney, Chris Noth, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Carlos Slim, to name a few. Some celebs got their start here; Madonna was a coat check girl just before she got her big break.
And yet, The Russian Tea Room isn’t resting on these lofty laurels. Beyond generously providing diners and tourists with a bottomless supply of the most coveted matchbooks in Manhattan, they offer a level of service and warmth that isn’t always typical of an establishment with such a notable reputation. Have you ever walked into a restaurant where it felt as though you were sort of inconveniencing the host with your mere presence? You can be certain you weren’t in the Russian Tea Room when that happened. The doting service provided at this fabled restaurant reminds you that the very best restaurants aren’t just about food — they’re about hospitality, too.
To wit, while hosting my in-laws for 11 (!) days, my nerves were wearing particularly thin after a long, cold day on the town. Fortunately, before they could fully fray, it was nearing cocktail hour — and we were nearing the Russian Tea Room. I dashed in a half a block ahead of my guests, flustered and breathing hard, hoping they could accommodate us, even though they were quite busy. “Of course!” I stood at the bar as the staff readied a grand table, catching my breath. Then, Igor the bartender asked me the most wonderful question: “Would you like a shot of vodka?” If I weren’t already married, I might have proposed to Igor then and there. Instead, I enthusiastically replied, “Yes, yes, I would!” One “Zа, Igor!” and a perfectly chilled shot of Jewel of Russia vodka later, I was, in the words of George Costanza, back, baby!
So, what’s new? A great deal, in fact. The Russian Tea Room revamps its menus seasonally. And, most recently, they have introduced several new services to delight diners of every age and appetite — at almost any time of day. Complete offerings include:
* Breakfast: The new New York power breakfast is here! Served Monday-Friday, from 7AM to 10AM, breakfast at the Russian Tea Room has everything you need to start your business day, from the classic to the contemporary. And, if you’ve got a group of six or more, for just $20 per person, you can have your own breakfast buffet. Now, isn’t that much better than Breakfast at Tiffany’s?
* Business Express Lunch: A favorite of midtown’s movers and shakers, the business express lunch is perfect for your next business lunch. Three courses for $40 include choices of RTR’s signature dishes as well as super-fresh salads.Continue Reading
Prime, located in Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, Georgia, will be celebrating its 15th anniversary the week of November 7 through November 13, 2011, and they’re inviting OpenTable diners to join in on the fun!
From prix-fixe menu options and specialty items priced at $15 to a a private dinner for purchase with owner chef Tom Catherall and charity events, Prime wants everyone to come celebrate, from long-standing diners to folks just discovering this Atlanta favorite. Looking back on 15 years in the business, Catherall is proud that Prime has become the flagship of the Here to Serve restaurant group. He says, “It has been extremely rewarding meeting all our guests and making them into new friends. We have experienced proposals, weddings, and growing families!”
The festivities kick off on Monday November 7, with Chef Dan Garner bringing back scrumptious favorites, such as the whole “sizzling” catfish and many others. Chef Jimmy Meas, the original sushi chef for Prime and corporate sushi chef for Here to Serve Restaurants will headline Tuesday’s Surf & Turf theme, featuring specialty sushi rolls and his signature yellowtail jalapeño as an amuse bouche for guests dining that evening. “Steak and sushi have been a part of our menu since day one, along with our 1/2-priced steak special. Prime‘s sea bass entree has remained the same and is very popular, as is our chocolate torte cake. New diner favorites include Prime‘s ‘World’s Greatest Sandwich’ and the Kobe beef burger,” said Catherall of Prime‘s offerings.