NEW YORK: SoHo
Pravda opened around 20 years ago under the original founder and ownership of Keith McNally (originally born in England) with some other well known spots: Odeon (in Tribeca), Cafe Luxembourg (Upper West Side), Lucky Strike, Nell’s, Balthazar (SoHo), Pastis (Meatpacking District), Schiller’s (Lower East Side), Morandi (West Village), Minetta Tavern (West Village) and Pulino’s (Lower East Side). Much has happened to the landscape of Soho and downtown in 20 years. Pravda used to be chiefly known as a place where one could order a chocolate martini, smoke a cigar, enjoy complimentary hard boiled eggs at the bar and have a roast beef sandwich. Since the takeover of the restaurant by fellow British patriot James Huddleston, the destination has become very much in the NEW scene but with an established history of operations.
Mr. Huddleston has taken a bit of charm from the UK, the original Russian-French theme with a slice of the IN CROWD and mixed it all together into a new recipe of COOL. We heard some people recently on a flight from Los Angeles to London speaking about Pravda saying, “Yah, that place has been around for a while but I hear it’s good again.” Of course it was always good, but we know what they meant. It has found a new foot in the New York scene of 2013 versus that of the 1990’s.
In contrast to the Meatpacking District, the SoHo, NoLIta, Bowery and LES neighborhood combination has risen in residential, entertainment and shopping spaces in the past 7 to 8 years. Some people attribute it to the creation of The Box (London and soon Las Vegas) under Serge Becker, Richard Kimmel, Randy Weiner and Simon Hammerstein. They could be the first group who took the plunge farther East as Lafayette was always the edge of SoHo. Their venture drew down and still draws down people from as far as Connecticut locally and across the Atlantic internationally. Pravda also captures much of that wave today under Mr. Huddleston. Lafayette has now become more of the CENTER as the night time and shopping frontier pushes farther East.
It’s a subterranean hot spot in SoHo/NoLIta that made the cut into the new scene today as it did nearly 20 years ago. The food is consistent and the crowd is attractive. Many simply walk by the venue as the entrance is hidden (stealth) off of Lafayette just north of Prince St. The anonymity is still alive, which many high profile people enjoy. But the word is out. It’s Hot.
It is difficult to determine what is more enjoyable. It could be the food, especially the variety of salads, lamb or pizza. But it could also center around the special events hosted as in this past fashion week for Nicholas K and Let’s Panic Magazine. The live cabaret style performance transformed the restaurant lounge into a truly deep late night scene.
Besides hosting fashionistas and trendy good looking people from Hollywood and Europe, some go just to have a nibble on the food and grab a cocktail. It’s hidden, low lighting, romantic yet friendly atmosphere provides a unique platform for socializing in the heart of it all.