At least I think it's Bensonhurst. It's a newish spot on 86th around 23rd Ave below the elevated D-M -- bright blue-and yellow stripes outside.
Went last night. Very nice, mild-flavored marinated veal tongue ($3.95) Outstanding stroghanoff ($6.50, I think). A nice marinated grilled chicken breast(about $6). Outstanding fried liver dusted with a light breading (about $7). Great value!
I have no experience in Russian restaurants, and I quickly got the impression we were doing it all wrong. It seems we were expected to share many more salads and appetizers and drinks -- hence the low-low entree prices.
Now, my friends and I scour the earth for unfamiliar dining experiences, and have grown comfortable in most good restaurants despite cultural and language barriers. So I was puzzled how conspicuously unwelcome we felt at DA I NET.
I've been told by Russian friends not to expect Old-World-style Russians to smile as constantly as New-World people; that smiles in Russia more often indicate humor than simple friendliness. Okay, I got that.
But holy smokes! We got stares of open disbelief from every table in the room! We had little kids running up to our table (and ours alone) pointing and laughing, banging on the glass partition beside our table -- and one who walked right up to my friend, kicked his chair, and stormed back to his table glaring at us. And all in plain sight of their frowning parents!
None of us is Russian. One of us is Taiwanese. 86th Street is mobbed with Asian businesses; certainly our un-Russian-ness is not the explanation! Is it?
Pity, because the place was otherwise very pleasant. And the waiters, although busy and taciturn, very attentive and very very cute. A yummy experience all round, except for the reception.