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French resistance

Entrecote // 25 Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa, Tel: 314 6443 // Open daily from midday to midnight // Menu in Russian and English; credit cards accepted // Dinner for three without alcohol 2,600 rubles ($87)

Published: May 14, 2010 (Issue # 1573)


With a deft touch that will delight many of our British readers, this new restaurant from the people who brought us Ryba, Probka, the Mozzarella bars and Il Grappolo notes on its menu that it features non-French cuisine. Perhaps St. Petersburgs dining scene is waking up to the fact that the cuisine of our arch enemies is somewhat overrated, we thought. Perhaps the work of the worlds leading TV chefs, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay et al, has not been in vain?

In fact, Entrecote is not short on French dishes and, as our waitress very helpfully explained, the restaurant is only non-French in that it attempts to avoid some of the negative connotations that Gallic cooking has accrued the portions here are not miniscule slaps in the face to anyone with a decent appetite and theyre not extortionately priced. Thats the theory, at least.

The restaurant is located on the corner of Gorokhovaya Ulitsa and Bolshaya Morskaya in the former premises of the Orient restaurant, which was popular with foreign tourists, largely due to its location on the way to or back from the citys main attractions, and with people in desperate need of sustenance at 3 a.m. finding something to eat in the early hours in St. Petersburg is becoming increasingly difficult.

As usual, the Probka people have done a cracking job with the interior. Theyve maximized the natural lighting by opening up the apertures of the windows as far as possible this never fails in St. Petersburg, especially as it always provides excellent views, and you wonder why many other restaurants in the city miss this trick. The d?cor is stylishly minimalist, with some nice touches that prevented it ever getting monotonous a baby grand piano in the center of one room, a vast table where single diners will be able to eat without feeling that their table is an island in an ocean of solitude, and a wheel bolted to the ceiling with thick candles placed on top of it.

The menu is also fairly minimalist, fitting onto one piece of A3 paper. There are three pizzas, three pasta dishes, three fish dishes, a small selection of salads, some starters and, unsurprisingly, three entrecote cuts of meat to choose from: French, American and Wagyu. The prices arent astronomic, but then theyre not for the penny-pinching either, with the American steak costing 330 rubles ($11) per 100 grams and the slightly more exotic Japanese Wagyu costing 640 ($21). A pizza will set you back 360 rubles ($12), while the pasta dishes will cost you about 500 rubles ($16.50).

We started with a Nicoise salad, and were given the option of having it with tinned tuna (395 rubles, $13) or fresh tuna (450 rubles, $15). We took the latter, which came with chopped melon, a very fresh salad and a dressing that didnt overpower the succulent pieces of fish. Definitely a thumbs up. The feta salad (295 rubles, $9.8) also relied on the quality of the ingredients the very delicate, soft feta cheese was nothing like the blocks of rubbery dairy product that is sold under the same name in cartons in the citys supermarkets.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Nov. 26


AmChams Public Relations Committee will meet this afternoon in their office in the New St. Isaacs Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha at 4 p.m.


Zoosphere, an international exhibition focusing on the pet industry, opens today at the Lenexpo convention center on Vasilievsky Island. Not only will items such as toys, terrariums and accessories be available for purchase, but animal enthusiasts can also learn about the latest in veterinary medicine and behavioral training thanks to the conferences and presentations that are part of the event.



Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburgs showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the teams website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literatures most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poets birthday. The tragic tenors work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russias greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Centers Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test ones intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only mans best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during todays reenactment titled Winter War: How it Was. More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie Black Cat, White Cat, as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of Takoy Festival, a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonights festival finale is Fathers and Sons, a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenevs classic about familial relations.



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