(this place just opened, below is from blackbookmag.com, not sure about this in 2009, "Word on the street says Mari Vanna will be kept secret, with owners handing out keys to approved customers")

Mari Vanna
New York Restaurants » Gramercy » Russian
41 E. 20th Street
(Park Ave. and Broadway)

Selected private openings through July. Russian myth has Mari Vanna as an old woman who took in strangers, cooked elaborate dishes in classic Russian tradition, and served on her finest china. The strangers were eventually given keys and treated like family. Hence this cozy resto. Russian owners took their time perfecting this homey place; interior's filled with pepper grinders, lamps, books, teakettles, and other authentic Russian antiques. Bit on the precious side. Food on a grand scale, heaping portions of flaky chicken Kiev, beef stroganoff, and salade Olivier are not to be missed. Candy dishes abound, just like the ones you couldn't touch at Granny's. Word on the street says Mari Vanna will be kept secret, with owners handing out keys to approved customers.
- Skinny 6-15-2009 10:23 pm

ny mag

Mari Vanna, a New Spot for Caviar and Horseradish Vodka
6/15/09 at 3:39 PM Comment

There’s a newcomer to the realm of Russian swank. Mari Vanna (which kind of sounds like marijuana but, per UrbanDaddy, is an actual person’s name) is now open for private parties in Gramercy, and serving twenty infusions of vodka as well as caviar and blintzes. Here’s the Daddy’s take on the décor: “Everything appears to have been lived in for generations: there's peeling wallpaper revealing older wallpaper, four chandeliers lording over a 14-person butcher-block table and a recliner at the corner table — the only one in the house — so you can laze about while you eat your borscht.” Nice. À la Apothéke, the place is promising to give working keys to preferred customers.

- Skinny 6-15-2009 10:37 pm [add a comment]

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