Big Eats for Real Men

MTA best-selling culinary author oversees the kitchen at Grande Bouffe.
The recently opened Grande Bouffe brings together some heavyweight players from Moscow's culinary circles. In the one corner are the darlings of the bohemian dining scene, the restaurateurs behind the popular eateries Jean-Jacques, Apshu and Gogol -- Dmitry Borisov and Dmitry Yampolsky. In the other, there is the gourmet guru and Eastern cuisine aficionado Stalik Khankishiyev, author of the smash-hit barbecue book "Kazan, Mangal and Other Manly Pleasures." Together they have created what is likely to become one of Moscow's hippest Uzbek restaurants once the service comes up to speed.

Grande Bouffe has taken up residence in the basement of the karaoke club Who Is Who, in the Dom Kino building on Vasilyevskaya Ulitsa. The interior features whitewashed brick walls and a dark-stained wooden floor. It's simply furnished, with little decoration besides the shelves lined with wine bottles, and colorful Uzbek ikat adras fabrics on the cushions and lampshades.

The menu is not strictly Uzbek-only. There's samsa (lamb 280 rubles, vegetable 250 rubles), dolma (300 rubles), manty dumplings (300 rubles), lagman (350 rubles) and pitti soup (500 rubles). The humus (200 rubles) and eggplant mutabl (200 rubles) are particularly light and tasty, making for a good starter combo with fresh lepyoshki flatbread.

Naturally, it's the plovs and shashliks that draw the most attention. There are four varieties of plov on the menu -- classical Fergana-style with lean chunks of lamb and succulent pomegranate (350 rubles), vegetarian (350 rubles), yalla plov with lamb, quince, chickpeas and raisins (450 rubles) and one with lamb ribs (400 rubles). Shashliks start from 150 rubles per 100 grams for liver or Iranian-style chicken.

Wines start at 650 rubles a bottle for Argentine red and 120 rubles a glass for French white. Beer comes bottled only, from 120 rubles for Heineken.

13 Vasilyevskaya Ul, 254-2122, noon-midnight, M. Mayakovskaya.