Azeri Sindbad Is Back

MTSindbad's main dining room features various Eastern motifs and a mural.
The Azeri eatery Sindbad has long offered some of the city's finest alfresco dining. In summer, its leafy courtyard provides a wonderful, secluded retreat on a quiet backstreet just off the Garden Ring. The interior, on the other hand, left something to be desired, as it had grown a little ragged around the edges over the years.

Over summer, the two-story restaurant closed for renovation. The result, however, reveals no visible radical changes. Rather, the interior seems more or less the same -- perhaps a little more spic and span. In any case, the new owner and management seem to have missed the chance to upgrade the ventilation. The main dining room, with disco lighting and a whimsical mural, has two freestanding air conditioners connected to the walls with extendable hoses, both emitting an audible hum. Other places to sit include an ornate, private banquet hall and another simpler room overlooking the garden.

Like most Caucasus restaurants, Sindbad's menu is exhaustive. The new chef's selection of shashliks, plovs and sadzhes runs to a total of five pages. The three pages of shashliks includes numerous options for 150 rubles and rises to 500 rubles for partridge. Plovs range from 250 rubles for chicken and dill, up to 500 rubles for chicken with quail.

The Azeri specialty sadzh dishes, named after the large wok-like pan that they are prepared and served in, start at 460 rubles for chicken and peak at 800 rubles for quail, chicken, partridge, potato, mushrooms, spicy pepper, onion, tomato, pomegranate and lavash.

Other typically Azeri dishes include the soups pitti (170 rubles), dyushbara (130 rubles) and dovga (130 rubles) and cheeses such as matsoni (60 rubles) and shor (110 rubles).

Sindbad stocks Azeri wines, including several dry choices, ranging from 500 to 600 rubles a bottle. The two varieties of Azeri mineral water on the menu, both from the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, are well worth trying, and cost 50 rubles a bottle. Draft beer starts at 80 rubles for Zolotaya Bochka.

6 1st Neopalimovsky Per., 248-5102/2790, 1 p.m.-midnight, M. Smolenskaya.