Friday, April 27, 2007

Turand'OH SHIT

Russia — “Zaire with permafrost?” No, as far as I know, Zaire doesn’t have anything like Turandot.

In an article I’ve lined my bed with and sleep on every night, element’s Franich St. Franich writes, “Alternatively celebrated and scorned when it opened in late December [of 2005], Turandot already carries a mixed reputation as Moscow cuisine’s newest retort to global derision, as well as its latest affront to decency. As always, perhaps most startling are the economics; namely, the $50 million invested in a restaurant, i.e., that particular commercial enterprise in which failure to recoup is virtually guaranteed. This is vanity you can touch.”

Restaurateur Andrei Dellos (Cafe Pushkin, Shinok), called a “neo-classical Walt Disney” by The New York Times, put forth this study in maximalism a year and a half ago. The chinoiserie is supposedly the first of three palatial restaurants of escalating extravagance, with an Italian to come in 2007 and, finally, a Russian-themed one, just before the Apocalypse. It always scares me when they say, “Just wait.” Because Turandot is enough. Too much. Olly, olly oxen-free!

Six years in the making, $50 million invested, 65,000 square feet — these aren’t dim sums. The food is not worth the 18th century replica china its served on, Asian fusion that invokes the restaurant’s namesake, loony Chinese princess Turandot, who is the subject of a Puccini opera. But, whatever — there’s a McDonald’s across the bulvar. Turandot for lookie, not eatie.

element continues, “The restaurant’s interior brilliantly recalls the Orientalist obsessions of Russia’s aristocracy, and if you are warmed by glitter and gold and loathe the disease of tired minimalism, you will be home at last…Ethereal lighting makes you feel like you are richer and perhaps better than God…Attendants wear powdered white wigs, and after some time you too wish you could wear a wig, if only society would understand.”

Marble courtyard. Gilded monkeys. Catherine the Great’s peacock clock on a rotating stage. Porcelain ghzel toliets that no ass should ever touch. Zhenya, get me off this crazy thing!

Turandot, 26/5 Tverskoi Bulvar, Metro: Tverskaya, Tel 739-0011


No comments: