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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

GOURMET'S NOTEBOOK: Le Club




Moscow's night owls have a new place to drink and nosh with the opening of Le Club, a cabaret-style restaurant tucked into the corner of the Taganka Theater.


Open until 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, the dimly-lit dining room resembles the theater's backstage area, with a billowing silk curtain artfully arranged on the ceiling and paint-splash murals decorating the walls.


Long leather booths to the restaurant's rear are perfect for large groups, while Le Club's main floor is packed with smaller, candle-lit tables.


The menu offers an eclectic mix of appetizers, sandwiches and main dishes. We started with the beautifully prepared chicken spring rolls for 40 rubles ($6.37), seasoned with just the right mix of ginger and cilantro and perched atop a bright spider web of three sauces: wasabi, teriyaki and chili mayonnaise. Garnishing the dish is an Asian cabbage salad.


Also delicious were the shrimp scampi (65 rubles), sauteed in a white wine, garlic, caper and butter sauce and topped with feta cheese.


The main dishes didn't hit their mark so well as the appetizers. The pan-fried beef filet (117 rubles) was a tad bit tough but flavored well with a mushroom and port wine sauce and a lovely balsamic onion garnish.


Two other main dishes would have been much better with a slight adjustment in seasoning. The maple dijon salmon was bathed in too much mustard and not enough maple. The fish and the walnut garnish were crying out for a bit more sugary coating to offset the acidity of the mustard.


Likewise, the bland Tandoori chicken (90 rubles) suffered from flawed seasoning. The promised lime juice, yogurt and ginger marinade wasn't detectable on the juicy half-chicken.


Other dishes on the menu include linguine with clam sauce, beef lasagna, citrus chicken and several types of burritos.


The more casual late-night menu includes sandwiches and some main dishes. A wide selection of wine and draft beer complement the menu well.


Dessert was also a mixed bag. The New York cheesecake was perfect, but the tiramisu was far too rubbery and lacked the appropriate coffee and liqueur infusion. The cappuccino was beautifully done with a hearty layer of milk foam that didn't disappear after one sip.


Near the bar at the restaurant's entrance stands a wide performance stage for musical acts. In the spirit of Taganka Theater's most legendary performer -- Vladimir Vysotsky -- upcoming weekends will feature a variety of blues, rock and funk bands.


Service was very attentive and friendly. Restaurant management, however, would do well to keep its eye on the kitchen instead of showing friends around the dining room.


Le Club's long bar and late-night menu make it the perfect meeting place for employees of nearby Price Waterhouse or for any after-work revelers. If the kitchen works the seasoning kinks out of its main courses, Le Club could be a welcome addition to Moscow's dining scene.


Le Club, 20 Bolshaya Radishchevskaya, in the Taganka Theater, 915-1042, noon to 2 a.m. Sunday to Thursday and to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Metro: Taganskaya.