by Laura Holt
An unpretentious new beer restaurant on Kievskaya, Probka was created for middle class Russians. But during a few recent visits, echoes of English, German, and Dutch could be heard through the long wood-and-brick beer hall. Probka is a Russian restaurant with Russian management and a Russian name — which means stopper, cork, and traffic jam — but for whatever reason, it’s attracting expats. The owners and management are pleasantly surprised. “The more the better,” Probka’s director told PASSPORT.
The Kievskaya Probka, just opposite the McDonald’s restaurant on Ukrainsky Boulevard, opened its doors in December. It’s the first in what we hope will be a successful chain; a second Probka is planned for Polyanka in the next couple months. The food and beer selection will be similar at all Probka locations: good beer to fit every budget, splendid meat offerings, and some well-made Western appetizers.
Zolotaya Bochka red and light go for 65 rubles while another 10 Czech, German, and Belgian beers cost as much as 195 rubles. The menu includes jalapeno poppers, chicken wings, and calamari rings in beer batter as well a s entrees like grilled salmon and an assortment of four German sausages.
Probka offers three meat-heavy business lunches priced from 129–199 rubles. Beer and Crayfish happy hour weekdays is from 4pm to 7pm; a half liter of premium German beer is 80 rubles and crayfish and shrimp are offered at discounted rates too.
It’s a pleasant place to hang out, with beer taps decorating the archways and a mix of sports and ‘70s and ‘80s videos on four large-screen TVs. Open from noon to midnight every day.
Heard It Through The Grapevine
O.K., so you can tell the difference between a chardonnay and a chablis without even taking a sip. That’s better than a lot of people can boast. But if you really want to impress your date the next time you recommend something to go with her Chilean sea bass, you’ll want to have a pretty good idea what you’re talking about. If you’re afraid that going out and buying a lot of bottles for sampling might break the bank, trendy wine bar and restaurant ZIN has come up with an ideal solution. Beginning in April, every Friday night guests will have the opportunity to sample a new wine by the glass from different countries and regions of the world, and the first glass is on the house. No obligations to order a whole bottle, or to stick around for dinner, though the French oysters in wine sauce would be an excellent reason to do so. Just keep in mind that if your date decides to go with the sea bass, she’ll want to get the 1998 Louis Latour Grand Cru to wash it down with :-)
Dining With The Mob
Accenti, one of the city’s best, hardest-to-find restaurants, just gave us another great reason to break out our maps and figure out exactly how to find it. During the entire month of April, diners at this progressive fusion eatery, located in a courtyard on a quiet pereulok near Park Kultury metro station, will be ushered into the world of the Italian Mafia in the era of American Prohibition. The special menu includes many of the dishes favored by Don Corleone, Lucky Luciano, and other infamous mobsters of the day (the authenticity of which have been verified by official FBI records on the Mob). In the true spirit of Prohibition, the restaurant will serve each male guest a free coffee mug full of whiskey on arrival; ladies each receive a glass of Champagne. They have even created their own soundtrack for the month, featuring music from Frank Sinatra, Guy Lombardo, and the Andrews Sisters, among others. In case you have trouble finding Accenti (see map on page 12), just keep an eye out for the vintage white Rolls Royce which will be parked all month next to the restaurant’s summer terrace.
5 Spice Turns
6 Fans of 5-Spice, the popular Chinese/Indian restaurant just off Gogolievsky Boulevard, may have been surprised to find its doors closed over the past few months. The owners have been rushing to renovate the interior and update the menu in time for their 6th anniversary celebrations on March 26. The refurb was finished just in time, and those with a jones for the restaurant’s signature Peking Duck and tasty Indian kebabs will have to wait no longer. And, for those who don’t have enough time to stop in to enjoy the updated interior, the restaurant offers free delivery. 3/18 Sivtsev Vrashek Per. Tel. 203 1283.