Fashionably Alfresco

MTModus has a classically trendy interior and a lovely outdoor patio.
Modus follows the fashion-cafe formula so faithfully that you could almost think it was parodying its fellow followers of fashion. The color scheme features plenty of cream and chocolate tones, and naturally, there are paisley patterns on the curtains and cushion covers. There are framed black-and-white photos of fashion models and the like.

Given the type of public this restaurant would seem to be aiming for, its actual lodgings are rather modest -- a large portion of the space is in an enclosed balcony that feels rather unsubstantial. Luckily, this is more than redeemed by the lovely alfresco dining section. The simply furnished outdoor area is bordered by several quiet lanes and shaded by some large trees, which give a sense of being tucked away from the rest of busy Moscow.

As this is an upmarket cafe, the menu follows an upmarket line in both its selection of dishes and prices. Among the salads are ruccola with prawns and crab (760 rubles), pink salmon salad (580 rubles) and parma ham with honey dew melon (680 rubles). Soups include cream of porcini (300 rubles), minestrone (370 rubles) and tomato soup with seafood (680 rubles). Pastas and risottos include black spaghetti with crab and shrimp (740 rubles), linguine with lobster and vegetable ratatouille (920 rubles), porcini risotto (590 rubles) and lasagna (590 rubles).

Seafood dishes include whole sea bass (750 rubles) and king prawns in garlic pepper sauce (870 rubles), while meat mains include rib eye steak (1,050 rubles) and duck breast in an orange sauce (650 rubles).

Draft beers include Krusovice (350 rubles a half-liter) and Blanche de Brussels (370 rubles a half-liter). Given that wine by the glass starts at 420 rubles, you would think that the restaurant could at least be able to spell the word for "glass" correctly in Russian.

Modus: 4 1st Truzhenikov Per., 971-5420, 9 a.m.-2 a.m., Sat. & Sun. noon-last customer, M. Smolenskaya.