Steak and Steak
By Charles W. Borden
Photo by Lisa Azarova
Doug’s Steakhouse is the latest entry in Moscow’s steak scene, following the tradition of Goodman's, the Kupol with its great but expensive Kupol Steak, long-timer Guillys and the often overlooked but still excellent El Gaucho, the Argentinian steakhouse. Guillys left the field open to Goodman's when it recently retired from the steak scene to be re-positioned with a fuller menu. Goodman has certainly and deservedly become a Moscow expat favorite. Before starting, I should declare a personal interest in Doug’s new restaurant since Doug Steele is a long-time friend and I have assisted him professionally with his new foray into a steak house. That said, I also know that his Steakhouse is a longtime dream, and as one of Moscow’s great (and infamous) restaurant and club promoters, he has invested heart and soul into this one – So Goodman, look out.
Doug’s Steakhouse is in a good location, a hundred or so meters inside the Garden ring, across from the Moscow circus on Tsvetnoy Bulvar. However, it is set back from the road making it hard to find; some street signage would help. Doug’s is on the second floor of a renovated building, above the soon-to-open Blowfish on the first floor, a Fusion-Sushi-Asian concept from Toronto.
After a climb up the slick, polished wooden stairs, the Steakhouse opens into a large space lavished with rich, dark wood, and heavy leather chairs. The wait-staff is attentive and look professional in their starched white designer uniforms. There is an open kitchen towards the back overseen by American Chef Tim Freeman and a large friendly bar to the right.
After getting our first taste at Doug’s pre-opening staff trial last month, my wife and I have returned several times. At the trial, we were served the Goat Cheese Salad (350r), a generous portion of large, tender spinach leaves with a sweet dressing and a pistachio crusted goat cheese patty. The spinach was the best I’ve had in Moscow. The Wedge Salad (290r) is cut from a head of iceberg lettuce and served with a peppercorn ranch dressing – very American. My wife loved the Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli (370r) appetizer served with smoked bacon and fresh sage. The Seared Sea Scallops (450r), served with a butternut squash puree and crispy prosciutto was also impressive.
I ordered the Douglas Filet (960r), an 8 oz. filet mignon laid on a rosemary potato cake with roasted tomatoes, creamed spinach and lump crab butter. Medium done, this was just right for me, but my wife’s Steakhouse Stuffed Ribeye (1800r) was huge. She was only able to make a small dent in this big slab of meat stuffed with smoked shrimp, lump crab and brie. We also got a cocktail sampling from Doug’s resident cocktail specialist and mixologist. His cocktail menu is a great read, and the selection unique in Moscow.
At a later visit, my wife was not too pleased with the Foie Gras Taco (210r), three minuscule pieces, maybe a bit too subtle for a steakhouse. However, her test of one of the non-steak offerings; a Shrimp Scampi (1200r) with three large tiger shrimp accompanied by a chili sauce and served on a bed of nicely seasoned rice, went well.
The wine list at Doug’s continues to be somewhat weak; it is still difficult to get a selection in the midst of the city’s wine shortage. Wine prices are reasonable, and in line with Doug’s declared plan to keep wines in a low markup range which is something new for Moscow.