About this Business
- Russian, American, Eastern European, European, Pub Food
From Our Editors
When it first opened in the mid 1990s, an evening out at Pravda often began with finding a pay phone. The Prohibition-style basement speakeasy featured no signage to indicate the Russian restaurant within, so many patrons were reduced to phoning for directions. Once they arrived, however, the memory of such efforts tended to vanish swiftly in a heady atmosphere where premium vodkas, champagne, and caviar flowed.
The bar's house-infused vodkas feature flavors such as beet and citrus for drinks such as the Motherland and Leninade, respectively. However, there are also a host of top-shelf European vodkas, such as small-batch Ultra vodka from 300-year-old distiller Jewel of Russia. Said to have been a favorite of several czars, the vodka still goes through a slow-flow filtration process designed to leave it exceptionally smooth without any loss of character. Pravda’s owners consider it among the finest of their more than 70 kinds of vodka, and it’s also among the rarest: only 2,000 bottles a month are released to the United States, each with hand-painted caps and glass.
Pravda’s name—the same as the former Communist Party paper of record—hints at its Soviet-chic influences, but a spirit of clandestine luxury holds far greater sway beneath the restaurant’s immense plaster archways and lanterns printed with Russian text. And nothing oozes greater luxury than the restaurant’s champagne list. Offerings range from light, crisp classics such as Moët & Chandon’s Dom Pérignon to the toasty Krug Grand Cuvée. Each bottle of the rich prestige cuvée takes more than 20 years to reach peak maturity.
Vivid red-orange salmon eggs melt in diners’ mouths, whereas the trout roe is crisp and briny. Alternatively, Pravda’s sampler of Petrossian caviar lets diners indulge in creamy paddlefish caviar and spread the delicate roe of farm-raised white sturgeon onto toast points to best appreciate its nutty flavor and silken texture.