It was a busy Thursday night at work and I was starving. I hadnt eaten anything all day and I didnt have time to go home before checking out the much-anticipated Karl Bartos (i.e. Kraftwerk) concert at the Tinkoff. As it turns out, a friend of mine, fashion critic and ex-glam-rock star Rock Savage, who was also planning to take in the musical magic, was just getting up after a late night on the town. Like me, he also hadnt eaten during the day, so we made plans to grab a quick bite before the show.
He knew of a place called Le Gateau, located near Paveletskaya metro station, which was convenient to both his hip studio and my office as well as the Tinkoff, which is just a quick cab ride down the Garden Ring.
As usual, I was running about 10 minutes late, but as I walked through Le Gateaus glass doors, I was greeted with a laidback, yet classy atmosphere. I couldnt help but smile at that irony that such a great place had been literally just a few blocks down the road from where I sat all day starving. I spotted Rock in his cropped sweater and took a seat in the comfy window booth.
I took in the candlelit interior and lounge music while I perused the menu. I settled on the French onion soup (95 rubles) and a Caesar salad (185 rubles). Feeling a little drained, I decided to refresh my system with a healthy dose of vitamin C and ordered a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice (125 rubles).
Like his unusual taste in clothes, Rock also has a strange palette. Not surprisingly, he ordered the pasta with salmon (195 rubles), a chicken sandwich (120 rubles) and a glass of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (115 rubles). "Why settle for one when you can have it all!" Rock remarked after he ordered.
Our beverages were brought out with a basket of white and black bread and herb-infused butter. The bread tasted fresh, but the butter was too cold to spread so we had to wait.
Soon after the bread arrived, my salad was brought out with Rocks chicken sandwich. The salad was great, but I thanked myself for ordering the soup because the serving was on the small side. It came with tender pieces of chicken and fresh parmesan cheese slices on top. Rocks sandwich was a little on the greasy side, but thats the way he likes it. "Me like..." Rock remarked while eating.
After we were finished with our first courses, the waitress brought out my soup and Rocks pasta. The soup was pretty good. As far as French onion soups go in Moscow, this one had an excellent price to quality ratio. This is something Id definitely go back for.
Rock had a more dire view of his pasta: "The fettucine was softer than al dente, the cream sauce was thinner than it ought to have been and they garnished it with too much parsley, but I appreciated the abundance of big chunks of salmon." But keep in mind that Rocks a touch critic when it comes to food. He explained to me, "Although Ill eat pretty much anything, Im really bitchy when Im asked to give an opinion of it."
But thats exactly what this interview requires, because if it were just me giving the opinions, there would be nothing but praise. Until I came across the three branches of this cute French cafe, I could count the number of reasonable dining options on one hand. Le Gateau is exactly the kind of place that Moscow needs. It offers a tasteful interior, great prices and good food.
Le Gateau is now my new neighborhood haunt. Ive been back for lunch twice and dinner once and each time I havent been disappointed. In fact, Le Gateaus business lunch is one of the best in town. For 280 rubles I got a salad, soup, a main and a glass of juice! Alas, Moscow is beginning to resemble other major world cities.
Congratulations Moscow! Youve made me happy!