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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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Times Talk

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Apr. 17


Expocenter Eurasia at 13 Ulitsa Kapitan Voronin is the sight of Goods on the Way, a five-day event starting today showcasing the latest in the industrial products industry. Bags, backpacks, swimsuits and much, much more will be available to attendees hoping to update not only their style but their accessories for the upcoming summer.


Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldnt miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norways largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianitys holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the deserts most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDAs Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBAs Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.