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Restaurant Review November 17, 2006
 
Apartment With A View
By Jake Rudnitsky Browse author Email
 
 

Now that the eXile's debranded, I guess we're going to have to get used to this kind of restaurant fawning over us. THE APARTMENT's management was so eager to impress that they'd invited us before the finishing touches for their gala opening on this Friday were done. Unfortunately, we've got to move a few steps up the ladder before we get invited to that, which will be attended by Russia's political and economic elite.

The Apartment is a novel concept for Moscow, part of the newly emerging Savinskaya embankment scene, where several converted warehouses skipped the 'artist studios' phase and jumped straight to SoHo chic. This week alone will see the addition of The Apartment, which will be open to the public in time for a Thanksgiving feast, and Club 1171, which is opening this weekend. There are plenty of other warehouses to convert, and I expect to see more of them follow The Apartment's example soon.

It's a place that's got a clear American influence both in its design and conception. Even though the menu's been designed by a Russian who cut his teeth in France, the owner-manager spent several years living Stateside and is going for an overstuffed American feel. It'll have a fairly standard minimalist wine bar on the first floor with some light dining options. But upstairs, in the giant loft area, it's much more ambitious.

The dining room's been divided into several areas, with the hope that guests will circulate as they see fit. There's a cocktail section, a cigar section, a dining room and more, each loosely mimicking an area in an apartment. The one thing that unites them all is that no expense was spared. A piano dominates the center, where they plan to install a regular who will set the ambiance, sort of like Sam from Casablanca.

The food, not surprisingly, is heavily French influenced. While the final version of the menu's not yet ready, I was told that the average dinner with a couple of drinks will run about $100 plus or minus. What I can say for sure is that the cooking is excellent.

We were served a Rucola salad with shrimp and avocado in a simple oil dressing. It was fantastic, and I was particularly impressed by its lack of pretense. There was no attempt to make a simple dish something it wasn't. The ingredients were simple, straight forward and perfectly fresh.

The dorado baked under salt with a side of butter-soaked baby veggies (green beans, carrots and zucchini) showed a similar sensibility: simple, amazingly moist, and delicious. The chef is wise enough to let the ingredients' flavor to carry the dish rather than concocting various heavy sauces.

This is all well and good, you might be thinking, but can a Russian trained in France make Thanksgiving stuffing? Luckily, anyone attending the $75 Thanksgiving buffet will never have to find out, as Moscow's best American chef Isaac Correa will be on hand to help out. You should also know that the price is being subsidized as an opening promotion, so Turkey Day will be great chance to check out what promises to be a great place to go Oligarch watching on the cheap.

Savinskaya Nab. 21

For Thanksgiving reservations, call 518-6060

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