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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Only the Best Seafood Lands Here

Even if you come in from Teatralny Proyezd, through the two illuminated Grecian columns, it is a problem. There are signposts to the neighboring Teatro Mediterraneo restaurant and bar, but not to the grill. The trick is to follow the signs to the other places, go down the long flight of spiral stairs as far as you can, and eventually you will find it on the left at the bottom.


Once there, you are in a large vaulted room, which in spite of its size manages to convey an atmosphere of intimacy thanks to a forest of strategically placed potted trees and tables that are not crowded together. So the place is good either for a t?te-?-t?te or for a group of eight.


It would not be Russia without canned music, but this loop is played relatively low, and at least there is no live band. The service is smooth and efficient, as you would hope from Swiss management, and in no way pushy. We had plenty of time to study the menu over an aperitif without being hassled.


Seafood is Moscow's last frontier and is still a rarity in this thoroughly land-locked capital. It was a delight just to see the variety on offer, all exclusively flown in, they say. The oysters come daily from France (at $30 for half a dozen) and the lobsters from Canada. A fish tank is on order.


After much debate, we decided not to plump for the grilled tiger prawns with garlic and herbs, described as Shrimps California-style ($32) or for the plain steamed lobster with lemon ($36), or even for lobster stuffed with scallops and shrimps, and baked with mozzarella cheese. Instead, we chose a classic Lobster Thermidor ($42). Our other choice was what turned out to be excellently done shrimps kebab.


The slight disappointment was the starter. A stupid misprint on the menu that offered buttered shrimps actually meant "battered," so that we were mildly annoyed to find the otherwise succulent pink shrimps covered in bread crumbs. Never mind. One of us had picked a half lobster that was done perfectly.


For pure fish-eaters the Lobster Grill has a good selection -- grilled salmon steak at $24 and Dover Sole at $30. You can also have meat, but the choice is restricted to steak. But why come to a seafood restaurant if you don't want it? The wine list is comprehensive, though very expensive. Our bottle of Pouilly-Fuiss? was $49.


The place prides itself on its desserts, and our two selections, chocolate mousse and a Campari sorbet,were both delicious. They pushed us each through the $100-barrier, though with VAT already included in the menu prices, our total for two was acceptable at $211.





Ruth Steele is a psychiatric social worker living in Moscow.


Jonathan Steele is Moscow bureau chief of The Guardian, London.Lobster grill








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