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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Biblical Elegance

Not content with sitting on their well-won laurels as the heads of Moscow's premier Armenian eating spot, the people behind the restaurant formerly known as Elegance have given their venue a comprehensive makeover. Jettisoning its former lush but dark look, the restaurant has been re-launched as Noyev Kovcheg or Noah's Ark, a place of air, light and fresh-looking wood complete with a scale model of said biblical artifact in the entrance hall.

Like its namesake, the restaurant now has two fully operational floors, including a grand, spacious upper deck and a more intimate lower floor perfect for those with romance on their minds. Fine, smooth Armenian brandy is available. Alternatively, there is an excellent selection of French and Georgian wines, with some very drinkable French wines sold by the glass.

The service remains as immaculate as ever, and, fortunately, little has changed about the cuisine. Shashlik and kebabs barbecued over an open fire remain the highlights of the menu, along with the numerous cold appetizers and a truly astonishing variety of eggplant dishes. The restaurant has also expanded its range of kuftas (balls of shredded meat boiled or fried with a variety of sauces). This national delicacy can satisfy even the most ardent meat lover's hunger for flesh.

While the heat drags on, diners should also be sure to save room for the fried ice cream, a crispy-shelled, sweet and refreshing delight.

Noyev Kovcheg, 9 Maly Ivanovsky Pereulok, noon to midnight. Tel. 917-0717/4699. Metro: Kitai-Gorod. Credit cards: V, M, DC.

- Garfield Reynolds

Mongol Shoo-in

Expect to wait on line in the evenings at the newest reincarnation of Yolki Palki at Pushkinskaya. Instead of the usual Russian fare, this version offers Mongolian stir-fry. You decide what to put in, and then they fry it up for you on a giant circular hob. The choice of ingredients is much the same as at any stir-fry place, but it is a bargain at only 100 rubles ($4) for as much as you can pile on one plate. Unfortunately, there are no recipes to follow, although the assistants do chip in advice such as not mixing cow hearts and horse meat. It usually turns out lovely though, andif it doesn't, try the hearty noodle soup for 50 rubles, chebureki for 20 rubles or the very plain plov dish for 20 rubles as well. There's plenty of Mongolian/Central Asian kitsch (try pulling the legs of the staff sitting in lotus position at the cash registers), but the restaurant is much more airy and modern than the usual Yolki Palki, with a nice cornered-off terrace for sitting outside.

Yolki Palki Po, 18a Tverskaya Ul., 11 a.m. to midnight. Tel. 200-3920. Metro: Pushkinskaya.

- Kevin O'Flynn