From the moment you walk through the glass doors you’re transported to a dining room of old world elegance, from the appropriately dim lighting provided by grandiose chandeliers to the beautiful long-stemmed red roses in crystal vases surrounded by plush velvet booths. As is customary, the maitre d’hotel, Dimitri Dimitrov, greets and ushers you to your table. That is, of course, if you have a reservation – practically mandatory in the high-caliber dining mode.
While warm-hearted Dimitrov gives you a précis of the restaurant’s rich history, an attentive waiter will drape your lap with a crisp, linen napkin. Named after the famed ballet dancer Sergei Pavlovitch Diaghilev, the hideaway’s interior is fashioned after the times of Diahilev, Russia, circa the 1920s.
Start off your evening with an apertif, an alcoholic drink served at the beginning of the meal. Choose from Diaghilev’s homemade vodkas infused with lime, white peppercorn, tea or orange. Next comes the amuse bouche, a small bite of salmon roe (caviar) served atop a whole wheat bilini (or pancake) with sour cream and dill. In addition, Diaghilev offers traditional caviar, including Beluga, Sevruga and Ossetras.
You may be feel full by the time the waiter arrives to take your order, especially after sampling the delicious raisin, olive and tomato breads which are offered with kalamata olive butter. It’s hard to decide on just one appetizer – one being the famed Borscht, a pureed beet soup, enjoyed hot with short ribs and cabbage, or cold with Belgian endive and artichoke hearts. Another exquisite offering is the shells filled with whipped eggs, chives, and Sevruga caviar. The Cabbage Stuffed Beef and Wild Rice with bouillon sauce was flavorful especially when served with a dollop of sour cream. Incidentally, no dish at this Russian eatery is complete without that dollop!
For entrees, recommended is the Kulibiaka de Saumon, another proper Russian dish of salmon encased in a light, puff pastry, served with a Cabernet Sauvignon sauce. Maine Lobster with Green Kale atop the sweet tower of Apple Clafoutis is also a dish that one should not miss. Your waiter will then offer you a rich serving of Potato Au Gratin that you would be foolish not to accept.
Speaking of the wait staff, Diaghilev arguably has one of the best in the business. It’s apparent that all who work at Diaghilev take their positions very seriously, making sure your dining experience is of 5-star caliber. Also, take the time to listen to the music of the harpist Margarita Maslinikova and piano player Natalya Koren as they serenade you with French and Russian national classics.
Just when you think your stomach is at capacity, out come the desserts, which you can surely justify making a little more room for. Choose from several delectable items including Chocolate Souffle, and a rich Cream Cheese mold with Dates, Raisins, and Pistachios. After all, this is your night of pampering. Priiatnogo appetita!