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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

GOURMET'S NOTEBOOK: Anasazi




Anasazi is a chic new restaurant off Tverskaya Ulitsa with one problem: its American Indian theme.


Its logo is a scarred American Indian warrior's face, lifted almost straight from a Chicago Blackhawks emblem, and the menu regales the diner with tales of offerings to the gods and of great hunting feats.


Inside though it's just a simple, elegant restaurant. Downstairs there's a cozy bar with free newspapers -- Moskovsky Komsomolets, Segodnya and the Financial Times -- available. Upstairs there's a spacious, bright dining room.


Pictures of disgruntled aging American Indians line the walls, three contorted masks hang below the bar and two extremely large pots lean against one of the walls. But you still don't feel like it has anything to do with native America.


The walls are decorated with subtle American Indian designs, and a handsome pillar in the middle is clad in what looks like luminescent buffalo skin. A pleasing mixture of blues and hillbilly music wafted in the background early in our meal, then we got a whole Lemonheads album to go with dessert.


The menu itself is fairly concise -- four options each for starters, soups, salads and dessert. We chose the deepfried cheddar with salsa (36 rubles, or $6), the 101 Clove Garlic Soup (36 rubles) and the Thai chicken salad (60 rubles). All of them were very good, the cheddar was perfectly fried -- although it did look like a plate of fries -- and the soup was pungently powerful. The salad was great and crunchy but completely un-Thai.


Other not-so-native-American dishes on the menu include spinach soup with toast and egg (36 rubles), salmon carpaccio (72 rubles) and grilled eggplant salad (48 rubles).


Good fresh bread came with the meal, accompanied by walnut-sized knobs of rock-hard butter eager to flip away off the table at a prod of the knife.


Both main courses were excellent. A large slab of poached salmon in champagne sauce with a dollop of red caviar on top (96 rubles) was succulently tender, and my friend lovingly lingered over it. The rice cake accompanying it was more of a chew but didn't spoil the dish.


The beef fillet au jus (115 rubles) was two gorgeous cuts in a delicious gravy with so-so gratin potatoes. Main courses run from 54 rubles (smoked sausage with sauerkraut) to 220 rubles for the smoked prime rib of beef. A large number of side dishes are available. We tried the spinach souffle (18 rubles), but the corn on the cob (14 rubles) or the sauteed vegetables (23 rubles) probably would have been a better choice.


Dessert was a delicate orange chocolate cake, ideal to finish off the meal. The other options are vanilla ice cream and peaches, banana split and seasonal fresh fruit (all 50 rubles each).


The usual suspects of Harp and Guinness are on tap together with a fine home brew called Angara. The wine list is rather small (175 rubles to 380 rubles a bottle; a glass of house wine, Bordeaux 1996 Les Combelles, is 36 rubles). There are cigars (85 to 120 rubles) -- but luckily no American Indian statues to hold them.


Overall, I'd recommend it, especially as we visited on their first day open.


Anasazi, 3 Blagoveshchensky Pereulok, 209-7914, noon to midnight, Metro: Mayakovskaya.