Dancers in shimmering gowns and tutus, tall hats, and sweeping silks—many crafted by costume designers at St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre—leap, sway, and spin in front of dinner guests. They flow through choreography set to Top 40 hits, contemporary international pop, and Russian classical music, filling a Broadway-sized stage with movements that glow and cast dramatic shadows. Though the show changes frequently, it currently packs in its most popular dances from its 20-year run as a moving homage to what Rasputin Supper Club and Cabaret has been treating its patrons to throughout its history: a taste of royalty.
That doesn't stop at the edge of the stage. While the dancers frolic under a 15-foot projection screen, guests sit back under 30-foot ceilings at the center of a palatial, double-tiered club with an interior designed to reflect the opulence of the old Russian monarchies. On chairs draped in shimmering crimson, guests cluster around gold-clothed tables spread out across hardwood floors. Gilt railings and gates separate the public from performers and private diners, and columns glowing with blue and amber lights scare off swarms of lost noblemen. During meals, the space fills with aromas from the contemporary French and aristocratic Russian dishes that occupy a collection of menus. Often using local ingredients, chefs craft frequently changing dishes such as smoked-salmon rolls, pheasant julien, roasted potatoes and mushrooms, and linguine with red caviar, leaving guests in a state of supreme relaxation while the regal dining area continues to excite.
Students often give their favorite teacher apples. Melissa Chmelar, however, gave hers homemade syrups and jams. That’s because Melissa's mother frequently took the family on syrup-making excursions, teaching them how to tap trees and boil sap into homemade batches that could compliment country-style spreads. Today, Melissa carries on her mother’s DIY attitude and passion for handcrafted foods as an adult. She even sells her own syrups and jams through the online shop portion of her culinary operation, Spoon.
Melissa doesn’t just sell her food, though—she also caters it throughout the city. With an arsenal of homemade goodies, organic produce grown in upstate New York, and local meat and seafood, she crafts delicious smorgasbords for dinner gatherings, cocktail parties, and special events. Along with baking muffins and breads, she rustles up upscale dishes such as pan-seared salmon with parsley pesto, earning herself coverage in a slew of major publications, including the New York Times, People Magazine, and Metro New York.
Melissa uses the same farm-fresh ingredients at Tbsp, the storefront portion of Spoon. There, she serves visiting patrons everything from from-scratch soups to grass-fed beef burgers flavored with house seasonings. For dessert, Melissa bakes and serves house-made chocolate chip cookies in skillets, topping them off with scoops of vanilla ice cream.