As a visitor to NY, stopped in at Anyway Cafe (2nd St. just west of 2nd Ave.), and I was floored by this liitle Russian place. They call it modern Russian - but it never loses sight of its peasant roots. Only about 7 tables, and a cabaret singer and guitarist were plying their trade. They were damn good.
I loved the food. Started with a smoked trout spread that was rich and delicious as well as a beet salad. Now, I love beets, order them out and make them often at home, and I have to say that they really hit a home run with this. The beets were barely coated with a sauce that did nothing but intensify the beet flavor. Served along some blue cheese and walnuts.
Mains were a delicately spiced peasant beef (a real charmer) and a smoked chicken with cheese and mushrooms over mashed potatoes. This was a smothered chicken dish that was made a bit special by it's smokiness. If this was all I ordered, I might have been disappointed, but it provided a nice balance. I heard good things from a friend about the osetra filet, but they were out that evening. All in all, a great place with bare wood tables, intimate lighting, unusual 'vegetation' ceiling, and comfortable prices. I had kids with me, and it looks like you could show up in jeans or dressed up and not be out of place.
Any other fans out there?