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There are times you get the feeling that someone is simply trying to do too much with one restaurant concept. That may be putting it mildly for Mari Vanna, a new restaurant opening tonight in West Hollywood that aims to be — well, a lot of things.

Ostensibly, it's a Russian restaurant. But oh, it is much, much more than that. For instance, it is also a karaoke lounge. And an infused-tequila bar. And a “garden-tea-party-meets-Bubushka's-house.” And an antique-laden, French country house. And there's an “in-house accordionist”!!! Did I mention it's in the old Bastide location?

According to the press release, Anna Karenina might have sipped “vodka in the plush wine and karaoke lounge, which also features a view of the bustling kitchen.” That's so funny — I don't remember Anna Karenina doing much karaoke, but I bet she could bust out a pretty profound version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

This isn't the first of its kind: There are Mari Vanna locations in New York and Washington D.C.

So. The next time you're in the mood for borscht and mixed berry-infused tequila, on cushioned-wicker seating with birdhouses dangling above you, while singing karaoke (or perhaps being serenaded by an accordionist?), you're in luck! Because Mari Vanna opens tonight.

(Editor's note: That sound you hear is Joe Pytka screaming. Or maybe not, if you consider the noted director, restaurateur and former Bastide owner's work: the Pepsi commercials, “Heal the World,” — or his “This is Your Brain on Drugs” PSA.)

Mari Vanna: 8475 Melrose Place; 323-655-1977.


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