Restaurant Row in the Broadway Theatre District is on West 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. On this single street there are upwards of 20 eating and drinking establishments.
Each of the eight dining rooms at FireBird has its own distinctive theme and color scheme. The deep green gold and rose of the first floor library has a dramatic focal point. It is a life-size tree with golden leaves and sparkling white lights. This eye-catching creation represents -according to Russian folklore - the golden apple tree in the Czar's garden where the FireBird, whose resplendent golden plumage lit whole rooms, stole the apples.
Amid all this opulence and splendor you may enjoy a pre-theatre prix fixe dinner for $19.95. This special menu begins with wild mushroom and three-grain soup, a choice of five zakuska-Russian appetizers, and buckwheat blini; it is served from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The zakuska offerings tempt the palate - from golden whitefish caviar, marinated smoked salmon with onions and dill, roasted eggplant caviar, wild mushrooms with sour cream, chicken salad with walnuts and grilled marinated lamb. Many more zakuska are available. You may also order individual items a la carte at $3.25 per selection.
Tempting desserts such as roasted pear with caramel ice cream and caramel sauce, double chocolate cake with almond milk and sour cream ice cream, charlotte russe with calvados syrup and apples and an assortment of Russian cookies are priced at $7 each.
FireBird has an extensive wine list as well as an in-depth selection of vodka.
Hours: FireBird is open every day. Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 5:00 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday 5:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.
The warm, dark-beamed front dining room and bar leads into an open kitchen and back dining room with a large skylight. There is also an upstairs dining room. The dinner menu (at a fixed price of $21.95) offers two courses - appetizer of antipasto misto (an assortment of grilled, marinated vegetables) and seafood or a generous serving of Caesar salad - and unlimited servings of the three pastas of the day. Everything is very satisfying, both in presentation and flavor. Each table is served with breads, foccacia and bread sticks along with an intriguing puree of chick peas, white beans and pesto.
Other entrees on the menu are served with Caesar salad, ranging from salmon in mustard sauce served with lentils and scallions ($17.95) to ossobuco (braised veal shank) over barley risotto with butternut squash and apple ($17.95).
Wines by the glass are fairly priced, an extensive wine list at $18 per bottle will please. A higher priced reserve wine list is available with several acclaimed choices.
Recommended desserts ($6.50) are chocolate zabaglione, apple tart, and ricotta cheese cake.
Hours: Becco is open every day. Lunch: 12:00 p.m.-3:00 P.M. Monday-Saturday. Dinner: 5:00 p.m.-12:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Sunday open all day from 12:00 p.m.-10 p.m.
Barbetta, 321 West 46th Street, (212) 246-9171, is the oldest restaurant in New York that is still owned by its founding family. Opened in 1906 by Sebastiano Maioglio, Barbetta is now owned by his daughter, Laura Maioglio. This charming, romantic restaurant is decorated in authentic 18th century Italian furnishings and serves the cuisine of Italy's northwestern region, Piemonte. The lush green garden in summer is one of the most sought-after dining sites in the city.
Dinner before the theatre is a four-course menu ($41) with many specialties of Piemonte: handmade tagliarini (fresh, thin noodles in a tomato and basil sauce) and beef braised in red wine with polenta are especially recommended. There are always appealing daily fish specialties. The prix fixe theatre menu includes appetizer, entree, salad of mesclun greens, desserts from the wagon, coffee and small Piemontese pastries.
Noteworthy, too, on the a la carte menu, are appetizers fonduta valdostana with polenta ($12), a light, creamy cheese fondue with crisp-chewy polenta croutons; agnolotti - small, tender handmade veal ravioli with a light sauce ($15), as well as entrees of sea bass with port wine sauce ($27), rack of venison with Hudson Valley apple ($30) and calves' liver with onions ($28).
There are 16 desserts on the menu everyday, including seckel pears in red wine, chestnut meringue, hazelnut cake, bittersweet chocolate mousse, fresh berries with zabaglione, and gianduja chocolate cake. Coffee and teas are served with piccola Pasticceria Piemontese, petit pastries. Hours: Barbetta is open Tuesday-Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. Lunch 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Dinner 5:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
Credit cards: All major
Danny's Grand Sea Palace, 346 West 46th Street, (212) 265-8130, includes the restaurant, piano bar and skylight room cabaret. Order a cocktail ($4.50) at the bar and nibble on vegetable sticks with hot Thai mustard.
The pastel dining room is lit with white votives, and a spray of pink dendridium orchids decorates every table. The theme of the restaurant, "Bangkok Meets Broadway", is showcased on the dual menu - with one side listing Thai specialities, the other familiar American/Continental dishes.
The special four-course complete dinner: appetizer, salad, entree, dessert and coffee is offered at $21.95 to $35.95 depending on choice of entree. Danny's highlights seafood; lobster in many preparations is a speciality and a hard to beat value is the $12.95 lobster dinner! Other standbys are the New York sirloin steak and filet mignon. Remember that American innovation "surf and turf"? They've got it!
Recommended appetizers are Thai spring rolls ($3.95), seafood in puff pastry ($6.95) and the Thai combination appetizer platter ($7.95).
Pad Thai - rice noodles, sauteed with shrimp or chicken, tofu and bean sprouts ($9.95) - are delicious. Steamed lobster and shrimp in ginger sauce, served in casserole ($19.95).
Desserts? Try the unique fried ice cream with basket of fresh fruit ($6.95) or the creamy New York style cheesecake in the old Lindy's tradition, served with fresh fruit.
Hours: Danny's is open every day. Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Dinner: 4:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. Thursday-Sunday, 4:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday. There is music nightly after 8 p.m. Currently on Monday and Tuesday nights veteran saloon singer, Ronny Whyte entertains. Call for show times and performers in the Skylight Room Cabaret.
Written by Marilyn Hansen with M.J. Boyer
The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.