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© Photo The Moscow News / Joy Neumeyer

Blue-ribbon burgers

by Joy Neumeyer at 26/04/2012 19:46


26 Tsvetnoi Bulvar, m. Tsvetnoi Bulvar, (495) 545 4353, beeftro.ru
Open daily 11 am-midnight

Having previously conquered pizza and pasta, the owners of Il Forno and Limoncino have turned their sights on a meatier target. Beeftro’s name is an apt summary of its concept: reasonably priced steak served in a casual French bistro setting, which the restaurant describes as “’30s retro chic.” While its name may be cloying, there’s no joking about the food: perfectly seared Black Angus steaks, plump choose-your-own-fixins burgers and sauces so good you might be tempted to bathe in them.

Beeftro proudly proclaims that its meat is all organic corn-fed Black Angus from the United States, raised without the use of antibiotics. You could quibble with its claims to be “ecologically clean,” as the American beef industry is about as environmentally friendly as an oil spill, but I’ll let it slide. The steak comes in three cuts: flank steak (or “bavette”), tagliata served in seared strips, and filet mignon, which comes with some interesting “deluxe purees” such as wasabi and fresh mint. Diners can order sizes regular (200 grams) or large (300). The cow-shy can choose from chicken, salmon, and grilled lobster.

While Beeftro is purportedly French, its burgers are all-out American: diners choose from a mix-andmatch list of toppings including bacon and barbecue sauce, guacamole, and truffle butter. It’s not entirely clear from the menu, but our waitress explained that veggies and cheese are included, while additional toppings are extra. The menu also encourages diners to jazz up the meat and fries with sauces like Dijon mustard and jalapeno ketchup.

Many steakhouses try to project a clunky image of masculinity… and with exposed brick, a dark brown color scheme, and sketches of cows crisscrossed by lines showing the meat cuts, Beeftro’s interior could have been a leaden cliche. But it felt anything but: the warm lighting, wooden tables, and round booths were clean and modern, creating a relaxed atmosphere that encouraged lingering for another beer. The fact that our server was friendly and knowledgeable didn’t hurt, either.

Served in a brioche, Beeftro’s burger is among the best in town

© Photo / The Moscow News / Joy Neumeyer

Served in a brioche, Beeftro’s burger is among the best in town

To balance all the red meat, we began with a green starter. The spring salad with grapefruit, avocado, and cured salmon was bright, fresh, and leafy. The chunks of fruit and fish were plump and colorful, while lemony vinaigrette and black pepper drew it all together.

Some restaurants have recently upped the ante, but Moscow still has a long way to go before mastering the art of the burger. That said, Beeftro’s version may be the best I’ve had in the city. The golden, lightly toasted brioche bun was delicious on its own, and held up admirably to the patty juices. A jalapeno and sweet pickle topping with a chili spice rub provided a perfect balance of heat and sweetness. The burger’s only flaw was that the meat was a bit overdone; I like some pinkness on the inside, and this patty was pretty gray. But the ensemble was crisp and juicy enough to earn forgiveness—and be devoured in record time.

The restaurant’s claims about its organic meat may raise an eyebrow, but whatever they’re doing to these cows, they’re delicious. Steak tagliata was seared a beautifully pink medium rare, with a light and flavorful char on the outside. Arugula underneath was a welcome touch.

The meat was good, bordering on great. But what firmly secures Beeftro’s place among the city’s best steakhouses is its sauces. Steak went perfectly with a light and smooth Bearnaise, which had just the right amount of herbs. Creamy pepper sauce was packed with the heat of freshly cracked black peppercorns, and made a devilishly good partner for the fries.

The fries themselves had an ample width and a crunchy exterior; their light spice rub might offend purists, but they were compulsively eatable. When the fries ran out, I’ll admit to licking some pepper sauce off my fingers. Hey – good food ain’t always pretty. After all this gluttony, we didn’t have room for dessert, but classic sweets like creme brulee and crepes Suzette would be a fine finish to a satisfying meal.

Beeftro poses a serious rival to established prize-winners like Beefbar. (If the prices still make you balk, there’s a 20 percent discount from noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays.) It gives customers something they can crave: excellent beef, simple preparations, and uncommonly good toppings. Nothing that French about it, but why should there be? I’m too busy licking my fingers to care.


Schyot, please!*


0.33 ml 219

Spring salad 379

Burger with fries 589

Jalapeno, sweet pickle and chili spice rub topping 79

Tagliata steak (200 g) 689

Pepper sauce 99

Bearnaise sauce 99

*All prices are in rubles

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