Screenshot of BCTV host Alyonka Larionov from “BCTV – Brighton Beach” by Ali Hashemi. Source: Vimeo
If you have visited the brand-spanking new Barclays Center this year, you might have already seen this cool new tribute to Brighton Beach, which has been playing on Barclays Center Television (BCTV).
The video features the fetching Alyonka Larionov jaunting her way through Brighton Beach, eating authentic pierogis, vamping like Leo DiCaprio on the boardwalk, and sharing drinks with some friendly Moscovians in town to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
Aloynka, who makes mention of her Russian roots, does get a little confused when referencing Brighton Beach Boulevard, which we all know doesn’t exist. Geographic error aside, she leads an otherwise cheerful tour through Brighton Beach, checking out Russian hats, Russian dolls (no, not these Russian Dolls) and Russian candy. She even expounds a little upon that “funny little creature,” Cheburashka.
It’s a fun, snappily-edited and mood-brightening journey though Little Odessa.
THE BITE: The Bite welcomes Sheepshead Bay Road’s newest business, and I think the only new business to open since Superstorm Sandy devastated the area: Georgian Cuisine Apani. Located at 1520 Sheepshead Bay Road, Georgian Cuisine Apani takes over the space recently vacated by Randazzo’s Sandwich Shop. If memory serves, that location has hosted five different food spots in the past five years. Let’s hope they can break the curse.
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M & I International, the “mecca of Eastern European food” at 249 Brighton Beach Avenue, shuttered its doors in September with plans to renovate and enlarge the building, but neighbors are threatening to oppose the construction if the landlord fails to add required parking spaces.
A rendering of what M&I International’s digs will look like when complete. (Click to enlarge)
The plans were revealed during Community Board 13′s meeting last Thursday, where the landlord’s attorney, Eric Palatnik, requested the community’s green light to build a larger than permitted structure that lacks 76 required off-street parking spaces.
“[The owner] would love nothing more than to put 100 parking spaces underground below that property. It would improve the value of his business exponentially … but he can’t. There’s water,” Palatnik noted, referring to the neighborhood’s high water table.
Palatnik said the landlord – the owner of M & I International – hopes to enlarge the two-story structure to four stories, and increase square-footage from 22,800 to 45,600 – or 11,400 square feet more than zoning allows. The two new floors will be used as a daycare and medical office, and the rent will be used to offset the renovation of the building, which suffers from a sloped first floor and varied ceiling heights, as the space has assimilated multiple buildings on five tax lots as it has grown over the years.
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Global Wholesale Market at 1414 Sheepshead Bay Road is closing down, numerous readers tell Sheepshead Bites, and, currently, only the fruit-and-vegetable portion of the store is still open.
Global Wholesale Market has occupied the space for more than a decade, serving as a small supermarket for Eastern European meats, cheeses, baked goods and canned and bottled imports, alongside fresh produce.
But about a week or two ago, we’re told, they locked up the interior portion of the structure, leaving only the semi-enclosed produce area.
We stopped by today and an employee confirmed they are closing for good. The interior, it seems, is being gutted, and only a few items remain in the produce section. They will likely close by the end of the month.
Moscow on Hudson, which we reported earlier this month had served its final pirozkhi, is to become a Russian restaurant, according to a reader who popped in there and asked workers.
For what it’s worth, that’s still unconfirmed. But it is the second time we’ve heard that since reporting that the area’s oldest Eastern European deli, at 1920 Avenue U, had closed, and we’re also told it will not be the same owners.
We’ll keep an eye on that space and let you know what’s coming once it’s confirmed.
It’s always a heart-breaker for me when an establishment has been around so long that it becomes part of the landscape, then closes before I get around to that promise I made to myself to stop in and try it. Moscow on Hudson at 1920 Avenue U is one of those places.
I used to spend a lot of time on this stretch of Avenue U when I was in high school or visiting from college, and I’d always pass this Eastern European deli and bakery. I knew it was one of the oldest in the neighborhood – certainly one of the first Eastern European places I saw on Avenue U or in Sheepshead Bay generally – establishing itself at its small storefront much earlier than the later bazaars that serve up larger selections on plots with much larger square footage (see: Net Cost Market, Cherry Hill Gourmet, et cetera). I had planned to stop in for some pirozhki or salads or maybe smoked salmon, which I heard they had the freshest in the area.
But, alas, that will not happen. When I walked by last week – fully prepared to keep walking and visit it another day – some construction caught my eye and dragged the storefront out of the landscape and into focus. The gates were down, the innards were out. Moscow on Hudson is no more.
Coming soon to 2612 East 14th Street: Sagdiana Restaurant. A culinary feast of Uzbek, Caucasian, Russian and French cousins. I, personally, don’t have any French cousins that I know of, but I sure do hope that, if I do, Sagdiana hunts them down, kills them, and serves them to me with a fancy-shmancy cream sauce.
The above sign appeared this week at 2612 East 14th Street, the former home of Cafe L’Azur, confirming our suspicions that the 2.5 year old restaurant is closed. It’s cut off in the photo, but the sign notes Sagdiana will have all new management. No word yet on when they’ll be open, but we took a peak inside and it seems just about fully furnished. We’re looking forward to our new neighbors.
Remember way, way back in the halcyon days of November 2009, when we first (and last) wrote about Cafe L’Azur (2612 East 14th Street)? The little Eastern European restaurant was just a year old around that time, and we found they had been prodding around Craigslist trying to find a buyer for the business. Of course, they denied the whole thing…
And so they stayed open for another year and a half or so. Then, earlier this week, the signs were pulled down, the exterior redone, and it looks like the place is empty.
Still, we can’t say for sure if they’re closed for good or not. The only thing that remains is a neon “Open” sign that is unlit, but it could simply be for renovations. We’ll keep an eye on it to see if it ever lights up again.
Well, lookey here. The New York Times has discovered Gravesend. Yeah, you know, “Gravesend, Brooklyn, near Bensonhurst.”
And wonders of wonders, Gravesend has “a family-run cafe” called the Cafe Kiev (1739 West 7th Street). “It’s a refreshing contrast to the borough’s many banquet facilities and dingy holes-in-the-wall serving cuisines of the former Soviet Union.” Nice to hear, but I hate to break this to the staff of the old grey lady, but there’s a lot of family-run cafes in our neck of the woods and many of them are “prettied up with pastel walls, framed prints and chandeliers, and buoyed by gentle lounge music.”
I’ve never been to Cafe Kiev. It sounds great and I can’t wait to try it out, but c’mon New York Times. Have you ever been to the restaurants of Southern Brooklyn? With comments like these I have to wonder.
The floor staff, managed by a young married couple, Artem Surjko Iurasov and Alina Allakhveranova, speaks fine English.
Prices that prompt a double-take. No item exceeds $7.
Check out The Times take on Cafe Kiev.
Vareniki comes smothered with crispy fried onions.
Welcome back to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we’ll check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.
This week, we take a bite out of two Eastern Eurpean food standards: pelmeni and vareniki. Both are usually served hot; both are available in just about every “Russian” restaurant in the neighborhood; one is from Russia and the other from the Ukraine. Both are delicious.
“But what are pelmeni and vareniki? A Russian high wire act?” I hear you say. Find out more about the dish, and what we thought of Cafe Glechik.