Wednesday, April 11, 2007

It's Me, Arkady!

In the Second World, you can go far with a little gumption, and a lot of PR. There’s only one name most Muscovites can attach to food, the name of a man with his finger in every pie of the restaurant industry: Arkady Novikov. At a Novikov restaurant, the food is, well, it’s not about the food. He knows that restaurant-goers are only in it for the spectacle. Just make sure the place has meat, potatoes, sushi and vodka, then spend the rest of the money on design.

G’damn, he’s prolific! Probably 25% of the restaurants in the city have the Novikov name attached to them. He caters to the entire spectrum of the Moscow social hierarchy, starting with Yolki-Polki for the absolute bottom feeders to places like Tsarskaya Okhota and Veranda u Dachi, which are out of the reach of the plebes. (No, really! The Metro doesn’t run out to Rublevo-Uspenskoye Shosse.) But, the man is best known for in-town haunts that serve rabbit food to glamorous society bitches -- Vesna, Aist, Galereya, Vogue Café and Next Door. Last month, he coughed up another one of its ilk: GQ Bar, a terribly expensive restaurant-bar linked conceptually (and, to a lesser degree, financially) to the men’s style magazine.

The March 29 opening party saw a couple intriguing individuals from the world of serious things: Pavel Astakhov (Moscow defence lawyer, represented accused spy Edward Pope) and dapper Edward Limonov, founder of the National Bolshevik Party. Even dissidents get thirsty for fashion.

These people are saggy. Let’s go back to the golden youth. Ah…


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