A Revamped Vinograd

MTVinograd has had a makeover and now offers a full cocktail menu.
Given the continuing popularity of The Real McCoy among fun-loving expats, it would seem to be a safe bet that if the people behind it chose to open another such establishment, then it would soon be guaranteed a loyal expat following. Well, expats are in luck, as the Authentic Alcoholic Association has indeed opened, or more accurately, taken over the downtown basement bar Vinograd, adding their special touch plus a new motto -- "boozing, munching, dancing."

The AAA, which also runs the noodle and cocktail bar Pod Mukhoi, or Barfly, has revamped what was previously a wine bar. Located right on Ploshchad Tverskoi Zastavy, opposite the Belorussky Station, the new incarnation sports a humorous design. Around the red-brick walls are posters depicting characters from "Star Wars," with quotes from the movies in speech bubbles.

The menu is mix of classic city-cafe fare plus some more traditional Russian dishes. Cold starters include vodka-friendly marinated mushrooms (120 rubles) and assorted pickles (150 rubles), as well as an assorted meat plate and cheese plate (both 350 rubles). Hot starters include chicken wings (340 rubles), chicken livers in curry sauce (330 rubles) and baby potatoes fried in garlic (110 rubles). Salads include chicken Caesar (250 rubles), chicken salad with pineapple (200 rubles) and an olivye "Nuno" (180 rubles), which is described as a nontraditional version of the famous Russian salad. There are three varieties of quesadilla (chicken -- 280 rubles, mushroom -- 280 rubles and prawn -- 350 rubles) and three burritos (chicken -- 360 rubles, beef -- 390 rubles and chilli -- 390 rubles).

Give that this is an AAA establishment, the selection of cocktails is excellent, ranging from roughly 200 to 300 rubles. Draft beer starts at 230 rubles a half-liter for Czech Zubr.

Vinograd: 1 / 2 Lesnaya Ul., 251-7700,

24 hours, M. Belorusskaya.