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Address: 138-140 West Houston St (Sullivan St)
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10012
Phone: 646-678-4334

Sun-Wed Hours: 5pm–midnight
Thu–Sat 5pm–2am.

Site: Visit the restaurant site
Map: Map
Chef: Vitalii Kovalev
Cuisine: Russian
2nd Cuisine: European
Area: SoHo


Forget Putin and the mess in Ukraine and indulge in the first NYC restaurant to serve a contemporary take on Russian fare. This is food that tweaks and reinterprets Russian faves in a re-imagined mode with up-to-date cooking techniques. Ariana, which seats 80, is the work of pop recording artist Ariana Grinblat who started by revising dishes she learned from cooking with her Russian mother and grandmother. With the skill of Executive Chef Vitalii Kovalev, originally from St. Petersburg, the menu offers innovative dishes that use seasonal ingredients and are light years from what many New Yorkers think of when "Russian" and "cuisine" are mentioned in the same breath. Borscht here is a rich consommé of beets, cabbage and root vegetables in oxtail broth, finished with slow-roasted short rib and a dollop of crème fraiche sprinkled with chopped chives. If you're looking for a salad starter, try the Pickle Salad of cubed pickled beets, heirloom tomatoes, jicama and microgreens, sprinkled with smoked bacon and drizzled with a Meyer lemon-agave dressing. The pâté made with chicken and duck livers comes with pear preserves. Follow up with an entree such as Ariana's take on stuffed cabbage in which the dish is elevated by cabbage leaves holding butter-poached lobster chunks with black caviar as a pour-over. Rabbit here is braised and appears in Madeira sauce with morels and sour plums over delicious pureed parsnips. Satsivi, another winner, is pan-fried squab blanketed in a walnut/pecan sauce served with flash-fried Swiss chard and turnip puree. Seasonal market specials are generally also available. Russia and vodka are practically synonymous so the restaurant displays a marble Vodka Bar, with a very impressive array of brands. Beverage Director Orson Salicetti hopes to educate customers about vodka, especially its versatility as the world’s most mixable spirit and the different ingredients from which vodka can be made, and does so via special drinks including a caviar martini, with the twist of a frozen caviar- filled lollipop as a stirrer and the Khurma, a cocktail of persimmon- infused vodka, apple cider and spice-essences liqueur. Martinis with vodkas aged six weeks or more in oak barrels are on offer, some with exotica like Benedictine and bitters, as well as vodkas infused with fig, lavender and pink grapefruit zest. Ariana is housed in a building dating from the 1800s with ample space so the noise level is moderate. Open Monday through Wednesday from 5 PM to midnight and Thursday through Saturday, 5 PM to a late 2 AM, the main dining room features a dramatic skylight while private dining is available in a cozy space with gas fireplace. Decor throughout is in the modern minimalist mode with soft grey, champagne, taupe and cognac tones and elegant lighting, a backdrop for a rotating exhibition of modern Russian art. The restaurant has only been around a short while but is attracting foodies and others looking for a feast for eye and palate. - Mari Gold