Brighton Beach has its seaside aromas, and Wall Street Bath and Spa’s restaurant Matryoshka has the alluring scent of chlorine, at least until the fellow fresh from a swim dries off while digging into thick slabs of boiled veal tongue ladled with mushroom sauce. The windowless room inside this Financial District refuge serves Eastern European favorites, like blintzes heaped with mountains of salmon caviar, soft stuffed cabbage, and several kinds of pelmeni. Most of the Russian and Turkish baths around town can’t cook worth a damn, but here, it’s possible to savor smoked eel and cured fatback while donning a bathrobe (most diners stick to street clothes). Made new friends in the sauna? Toast each other with shots of house-infused vodkas to down with sweet cherry vareniki dumplings.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2014