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Restaurant Review

The Cupola
Charles Borden

Anatoly Komm's new restaurant Kupol has 360 degrees of glass overlooking the approach to Kutuzovsky Prospekt, the Novyarbatsky Bridge, the White House, and a stunning view straight down the Moscow river to the south to Moscow State University. A quick right turn at the end of Novy Arbat just before the bridge brings you to the entrance to the rooftop parking in front of the Mayor's administration building. The circular building below Kupol houses an array of elitny shops, perfectly complementing the style and cuisine of Kupol, and the lifeless stainless and glass building that houses them.

Best known for the Green Grill Room, chef Anatoly Komm has been on the Moscow restaurant and fashion scene for years. A second Green in Geneva is reportedly listed in the Michelin Red Book. Komm also recently opened his signature, prix fixe Anatoly Komm at 12 Kutuzovsky Prospekt (6290r). Komm has plans to open another Green in Paris. Early on, Komm made a transition from financier to fashion as the president of a company that brought Versace, Ferre, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, Byblos, Fendi, among other to Russia. As he traveled and learned the cuisines of Europe and Asia, he honed his skills as a chef.

From the more-than-adequate rooftop parking at Kupol, you directly enter the large glass and steel domed restaurant with a view of the Moscow river as if it were beneath your feet. The window ledge is lined with huge glass vases filled with giant Bird-of- Paradise. Kupol's cuisine is a gastronomic rainbow, billed as the only truly avtorskaya kukhnya (chef-artist's cuisine) in Moscow, though a number of restaurants in Moscow would argue about this.

After settling in, we were presented with a complementary serving of Chips with Truffles, two thin wafers of potato and two of beet, sandwiching truffle pate. This is when we first noticed the serving plates used at Kupol Ц impressive dark grey slabs of slate. Like all restaurants at this time, the wine list was very thin, though the prices were not. Our host ordered first a Campanelle Vin de Tavola di Toscana Rosso 1995 (4900r) and later a San Felice Vigorello 2001 (4940r), an excellent Sangiovese dominant Italian. A glimpse at the hefty, pre-wine-crisis wine list gave a hint of the restaurant's markup score Ц 3.2. We were pleased to be able to fully enjoy the wines as they were served in Spiegelau glassware.

We each tried the intriguing Asparagus Soup with Truffle Ice Cream (890r) and were suitably impressed. For starters, a Sweet Tomato with Homemade Cheese (630r) salad was a variant of the traditional caprese salad with a kind of soft Indian panir type cheese substituted; quite a pleasant change. The Pasta with Tomato and Basil (450r) consisted of apparently homemade, large, broken flat noodles with a simple fresh tomato and basil sauce.

Entrees ordered by our host and guests included Steak Kupol (2750r), a thin, nothing special but adequate steak. The Sea Bass with Avocado and Lime Mousse received soft praise. The mousse deserves a word Ц the chef appears to be intrigued with the use of foam, apparently the new thing in cooking. Our host reported a foray to the Anatoli Komm down the street, where it seems that practically every dish on the 17 course prix fixe meal had a foam component. There were no cheers for this gastronomic innovation. However, the Beef Filet with Foie Gras (2100r) received guarded praise. My Tuna Steak with Sweet Glaze (1350r) was unacceptably tough.

Other intriguing menu items we did not try were Foie Gras with Buckwheat (1750r), Scampi under Potato Chips (2600r), and the Kupol Burger (980r). Some of us topped off dinner with the recommended Rhum Baba (500r), a soft cake in rum cream sauce, a delightful treat.

One note about the bathrooms, the lift down closes at 11, so if you demand, you can get an escort to the staff toilet.

Kupol
Novy Arbat 36
Telephone: (495) 290 7373

Kupol at Passport Restaurant Guide






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