In celebration of New York City's Eastern European culture and cuisine, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is hosting the first-ever Russian Restaurant Week.
The event will run from May 18-24, featuring 37 Brooklyn restaurants that offer Eastern European dishes with varying discounts for lunch and dinner.
Each year, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce presents a restaurant week that focuses on a particular culture and cuisine. From Kosher to Caribbean, the annual Restaurant Week has shed light on many of the borough's cultural restaurants.
Carlo Scissura, the president of Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, said that the Russian community seemed like the obvious choice this year, as its culture has contributed so much to Brooklyn.
"When you look at the Russian community and how far they've come, it only made sense to focus on their restaurants this year," Scissura said. "It's a way to show people, especially those who may not know about this culture or these restaurants, all the greatness of this community."
Dmitriy Fhokler, manager at Veranda Restaurant in Manhattan Beach, said that this event will popularize more Eastern European restaurants and chefs in Brooklyn.
"It's important for people who like to see what a particular cuisine is like," said Fhokler, who has been the restaurant's manager for three years. "It's an opportunity for chefs to show people what they can make."
Veranda specializes in Russian cuisine, serving some of the culture's most classic meals with a 15% discount on lunch items during Restaurant Week. From Russian borscht to Ukrainian salo, Veranda's menu offers authentic dishes from several Eastern European countries.
Although this six-day spotlight on Russian restaurants will be a one-time event, Scissura said that he is looking forward to adding more cultures and cuisines to Brooklyn's Restaurant Week in years to come.
"The bottom line is economic development," Scissura said. "Restaurant Week helps these restaurants get additional business while introducing people to a whole new group and culture."
Alex Malakhov, of Art House Restaurant in Sheepshead Bay, said he is looking forward to Russian Restaurant Week, offering a 20% discount on weekdays and 15% off on weekends. Although Malakhov claimed that the restaurant is often bustling on weekends, he thinks that this event will bring in even more crowds to Art House as well as to other European eateries in the area.
"It's important to let people know what's going on with other cuisines because they seem interested in trying different things," Malakhov said. "We just want more people to know about our cuisine and what we do."