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The Russian Tea Room's Beef Stroganov



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Alas, it is no more! Mon Dieu!
NOW where is Tootsie going to have lunch?

Russian Tea Room to Close After Tomorrow's Dinner
The New York Times, July 27, 2002

By Glenn Collins

“The Russian Tea Room, that storied preserve of infused vodka, glinting
caviar and buttery blini that was for decades a clubby watering hole for
the city's bolderati, announced its closing yesterday, less than three years
after its spectacular but ill-fated $30 million renovation.
The flamboyant restaurateur Warner LeRoy, who hoped to reinvent the
Tea Room as a variant on his hugely successful Tavern on the Green,
died a little more than a year after reopening the restaurant at 150 West
57th Street, a six-story Italianate brownstone squeezed between two large
buildings. It will close after dinner tomorrow...
"A large part of its greatness came before Warner took it over," Mr. Zagat
said. "In those days, it was a place of wonderful spirit and ambiance. It was
a home away from home for many people in the theater, show business and
the arts."
...The restaurant began as, literally, a tea room in the 1920's. In reputation,
RTR, as addicts called the place, was on a par with the Stork Club and the
Algonquin Round Table. Flaunting a stage-Russian flair that appealed to
its fiercely loyal patrons, the original Tea Room was dominated by red-red
banquettes, shimmery samovars and year-round Christmas ornaments
whose wacky ubiquity announced an ambiance of festive eccentricity.
Many of the legendary goings-on there may actually have happened:
Leonard Bernstein writing the opening refrain of 'Fancy Free';
Madonna in the coat-check room (she was fired);
the timely escape from a back door of the Shah
of Iran's sister to duck an irate crowd;
and Zero Mostel swathing himself in an apron to take
orders from diners for, as he put it, "peasant under glass."

It was, of course, the place where Elizabeth Taylor had to show off her new
bauble from Richard Burton: a diamond as big as the Ritz. Then there was
the time that a weeping Sol Hurok entered the Tea Room, announcing that
he had just emerged from the most touching film he'd ever seen: "The Sol
Hurok Story."
From its initial clientele of musicians and dancers warped from the vortex of Carnegie Hall next door, it became the place for agents, writers, actors, stars
and celebrity-gazers to, well, be. Sitting within listening range of agent Sam
Cohn's booth — Table 1 — was to attain nirvana.
"Now where is Tootsie going to have lunch?" asked Mr. Clark, referring the character played by Dustin Hoffman in the 1982 movie about an obnoxious
actor who dresses as a woman for lunch at the Tea Room and fools
his agent..."

Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company

It's back!

Russian Tea Room Reopens
By Verena Dobnik, AP
Madonna no longer works the coat check, and blintzes have been usurped
by blinchiki. Nevertheless, updates aside, New York’s Russian Tea Room
is back - for the third time...
...boldface names such as Michael Douglas, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Barbara
Walters, Woody Allen and Henry Kissinger went to the restaurant for their
tete-a-tetes and trysts. It was the ultimate power meal, spiced with romance,
until it closed in 1995. Then reopened. Then closed again.
On Friday, November 1, 2006 the Russian Tea Room opened yet again, after
a more than $19 million takeover and makeover. The new owner is real estate
developer Gerald Lieblich.
No one knows how this third reincarnation of an iconic meeting place will
do, but one thing is for sure: The name Russian Tea Room evokes New York's
celebrity realm - "an anteroom to all the glamour and gifts, sizzle and pulse,
art, intelligence and determination of New York," as singer Judy Collins, a
Tea Room regular, described it in an essay after its 2002 closing.
Today, the town house is filled with decor that mimics early 20th-century
Russia, with 28 antique samovars, crimson leather banquettes and vivid
green walls. The menu offers borscht and blinis with butter, caviar and
sour cream.
...The many stories started in 1926, when a chocolate shop and tea room for
Russian expatriates was opened by former dancers of the Imperial Russian
Ballet who had fled the Bolsheviks.
...When Yul Brynner died, the friends who gathered to mourn him at the
restaurant included Raquel Welch, Sylvester Stallone and Robert Mitchum.
...There are only a few truly original items behind the revolving entrance door
at 150 W. 57th St.—including the old wooden door itself. Hand-etched on
its glass panels are the letters that have greeted guests for many decades:
This article was originally published by Associated Press in November, 2006.


The Russian Tea Room's Beef Stroganov
Gourmet September 1996

Gourmet - One Year Subscription

A 1 1/2-pound beef fillet
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound Portobello mushrooms,
trimmed and sliced thin
1/2 pound white mushrooms,
trimmed and sliced thin
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup beef broth
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Garnish: minced chives or scallions
Accompaniment: buttered noodles

Cut fillet crosswise into 1-inch slices and cut slices into 1/3-inch-thick
strips. Season beef with salt and pepper.
In a 12-inch non-stick skillet heat the oil and 1 tablespoon butter over high
heat until foam subsides and sear beef, in batches, 30 seconds to 1 minute
on each side, or until browned but still rare. Transfer beef with tongs to a
plate. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to skillet and cook onion and
garlic over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add the mushrooms and
salt and pepper to taste and cook over high heat, stirring, until liquid mush- rooms give off is evaporated. Add wine and boil, stirring, 3 minutes. Add
the beef with any juices that have accumulated on plate, the broth, sour
cream, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until heated
through (do not let boil). Garnish Beef Stroganov with chives or scallions
and serve over noodles. Serves 6.

Featured Archive Recipes:
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à la Parisienne
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Sautéed Veal Chops with Mushrooms
and White Wine


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