Best Russian restaurants in Brooklyn

(Photo: Rasputin, The Village Voice)

Somewhere at the end of the subway line, by the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, under the perpetual shadow of the elevated train tracks, lies a forgotten land known as Brighton Beach. Few New Yorkers have ever visited it unless they fell asleep on the Q train, and so it is cloaked in mystery - a kingdom of Cyrillic letters populated almost exclusively by people speaking the ancient language of the tsars.

But to visit Brighton is not to get a glimpse of Russia as it was during its imperial glory, but to see a reel of Russia as it was during Nineties inflation: cheap, kind of dirty, lined with flower shops, fruit stands, plump, incorrigibly grumpy old ladies selling knishes on the street, and leather-clad macho men yelling into their flip phones in an underground world of ripped DVDs and dubious deals on pickled products and electronics.

But ya’ gotta know where to go.

The following, then, is a true Russian insider’s guide on how to party in Brighton likes it’s 1999.

Going All Out:

If you’ve never been to a Russian birthday party, you should know that Russians typically celebrate with “banquets, ” meaning that you pay a set price per person for a table for the night. At about 0 a head, this may seem a bit steep, but not when you factor in the four-course feast in which you gorge yourself, followed by a lavish cabaret performance and a whole night of singing and dancing. While every Russian restaurant offers more or less the same oeuvre, Rasputin (2670 Coney Island Avenue) distinguishes itself by being the veteran nightclub, one that boasts the greatest collection of glitter decorations and a Las Vegas style show that’s so flashy it makes Liberace seem downright conservative. While there will be plenty of young people, you should know that Russian grandmas and grandpas love to party in these places, so there will inevitably be 90-year-old men gyrating on the dance floor with reckless abandon, which, to be fair, is kind of an inspiration to us all. Going to Rasputin will be an experience that you’ll never forget (even if you want to).

Note: Dress super sexy. You don’t want to be upstaged by the 80-year-old babushka in a skintight, sequined mini dress and knee high boots.

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