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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Do the Duck for Bar Food With a Difference

Moscow's Central House of Arts' Workers has always been the kind of place where you can let your hair down.


This haven tucked inside the courtyard of the Kuznetsky Most metro station has, in its time, hosted a weekend jazz club and a revolving gay disco. Now, as home to the Hungry Duck, the revelry continues.


The Hungry Duck is the kind of place where you can dance on the bar, take cover from a barrage of flying coasters, and let your inhibitions dissolve before a selection of 11 kinds of beer on tap.


If you're looking for a quiet night on the town, don't do the Duck. Although the cavernous interior is lined with plenty of cozy booths that lend at least the impression of privacy, they are more a place of refuge from the occasionally frenzied crowd than they are a cozy nook to whisper terms of endearment.


This newcomer to the Moscow scene is loosely modeled after the Thirsty Duck, one of the more popular watering holes in Halifax, Nova Scotia, hometown of the Duck's owner, Douglas Steele. This in itself is quite a commendation, as, I am told, Halifax is reputed to have more bars per capita than any city in the world.


Moscow's sister bar was also slated to be named the Thirsty Duck until Steele ran into interference at the Russian registration office. Believe it or not, in the same country where you can buy vodka in a yogurt cup, there are regulations forbidding names that encourage drinking. Apparently, there are no such regulations against enticing people to eat.


And I can only encourage you to do so. The food at the Duck is by no means gourmet, but it is a reliable place for a simple and balanced meal when you need to absorb some of that beer or your stomach cannot handle another evening of garlic and walnut sauce.


I felt compelled to try the duck ($18), a choice made all the more intriguing because it came with juniperberry sauce. Sauces are all the rage at the Duck. A thick slab of salmon steak ($16) comes with a generous dollop of hollandaise sauce, while a mustard sauce attended the grilled pork chops ($14). Only the sauteed filet mignon ($15) appeared unadorned, and it needed no accompaniment. All entrees are served with rice or potato croquettes, which do not look entirely unlike Hostess Twinkies, but taste much better.


Those who opt for a lighter meal can choose from a number of appetizers or snacks. This may seem like an unlikely spot for decent carpaccio ($8), but I thoroughly enjoyed the delicate strips of beef generously sprinkled with parmesan. In fact, there are several items on the Hungry Duck menu that do not strike me as typical bar food offerings. The dark green walls and neon beer signs at the Duck seem to inspire an entirely different kind of cuisine -- buffalo wings, heaping bowls of chili, a traditional turkey club. But there is nary a cheese fry in sight.


You won't find a hamburger on the menu either, but don't be afraid to ask for it.


"It's my favorite thing on the menu," says Steele. "And it's not even on the menu."





The Hungry Duck Bar and Grill, 9/6 Ulitsa Pushechnaya, is located inside the House of Arts' Workers just to the left of the Kuznetsky Most metro station. Open daily from 12 noon to 5 a.m. Visa, Mastercard and rubles accepted.