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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Fig for the Famished

MTInzhir's second level is a good spot to sit and scope out who's below.
Inzhir is almost an Uzbek restaurant. That's not to say it has tried and failed to be one -- rather, it seems to have made a conscious compromise. And that may not be a bad thing.

Its location, on 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya Ulitsa, is a mixed blessing: visibility may be guaranteed, but still, Moscow's main drag seems a tough spot to sell. Many an ambitious restaurant project has opened along this strip only to quietly fizzle a few months later. And few Uzbek restaurants succeed at making something upmarket out of such a simple cuisine, in order to afford such a prime location. So it is understandable that Inzhir had to make some compromises.

The design of the two-level restaurant is slick. The huge front windows provide for excellent people-watching opportunities on the street outside, while the restaurant's second level lets diners scope out who's eating down below. There are various Eastern touches scattered about, but overall the atmosphere is that of a modern lounge rather than a typical Uzbek teahouse.

The menu features an eclectic mix of modern Moscow favorites and classical Uzbek dishes. The soups section is split down the middle. European soups include Italian cream of pumpkin soup (260 rubles) and Neapolitan lentil soup (450 rubles), while Uzbek classics such as lagman lamb and noodle soup (380 rubles) and ugra-osh chicken with noodles soup (250 rubles) also feature.

The rest of the menu is similarly divided, with the lamb-centric Uzbek offerings being the most enticing. The manti (360 rubles) is a two-piece portion of lamb-filled dumplings with a sour cream dipping sauce on the side. The dimlama (650 rubles) is a lamb and vegetable stew served in small clay pot, rich with fragrant herbs and spices. The Uzbek plov (380 rubles) is a classic rendition, with tender chunks of lamb and an achichuk tomato salad on the side.

After dinner, you may retire to one of the curtained-off sofa nooks to puff on a hookah and try the special inzhir (fig) desserts.

13 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya Ul., 609-2048/08, 8 a.m.-last guest, M. Mayakovskaya.