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Restaurant Review July 26, 2001
Food Fux'N
By Lionel Tannenbaum Browse author

Back in the day, PIR was just another unexceptional Italian restaurant with overblown faded-Imperial-glory decor. But things have changed -- both with the menu, which has expanded it range to include Greek, French, and soon, Spanish cuisine, and with the establishment as a whole, which has added the subtitle "Erotic Restaurant" to its name. More on that later; first let's take a look at the food.

We restricted ourselves to the "Greek Tasting Menu": nine items (including dessert) for 1440 rubles, equally suitable as a full meal for three or a as bona fide feast for two. According to the menu, the entire meal weighs in at just over 2 kg, but trust me when I tell you it will feel like a whole lot more than that once it's all over.

The first course is a good-sized portion of fresh salmon carpaccio with a dressing of oil and vinegar. Next up is the "Athens at Noon," a very respectable version of the classic Greek salad. The Feta cheese was delectably tangy, the vegetables appetizingly fresh and crisp. The salad action continues with the altogether more serious "Trojan Salad," a hearty mix of piquant eggplants, fried calamari, and stewed tomatoes. It is at this point in the meal that the more feeble diner may begin to sense that he is not quite cut out for all this. There is no shame in such feelings. There are even some extreme life situations in which a shrunken stomach can come in handy. But I digress, and needlessly so at that.

Dish number four is the "Spartan Tomato," a baked tomato with Feta cheese and cilantro. Unless you are one of those people who hate the green herb also known as "coriander," you will find this dish pleasing. The "Gift from the Aegean Sea" is a mercifully light combo of tiger shrimps with salad leaves, lemon, and black olives. You will certainly appreciate the respite from heavier items, which continues with this subsequent "Myths of the Undersea Kingdom," a seafood salad that, if you're like me, you'll pretty much skip over entirely. It's not that I have anything against seafood salads, I just never really saw the point of them.

We now head into the homestretch with "Marathon Dolma," the familiar grape leaf-wrapped delicacy with a lovely little tomato-based sauce. The savories reach their conclusion with the aptly named "Labyrinth," fish rolls with a mix of veggies and mussels. To be quite honest, by this point I really wasn't noticing much about what I was consuming. I trust the reader will forgive me. Dessert then arrives in the form of "Medea's Spell," a refreshing assortment of fresh fruits that includes pears, kiwi, strawberries, pears, and pineapple. The accompanying fruit sauce does it job nicely. Whatever that job may be.

Now as for this "erotic restaurant" business, I'll have to be brief. It breaks down more or less like this. The waitresses and their assistants are largely an attractive bunch and are dressed in skimpy, stringy outfits reminiscent of Caligula. And apparently, they are available to perform all manner of services above and beyond what is usually required of a serving girl -- everything from serving you your food and drink by hand so that your own hand need never touch a piece of cutlery or glassware (1500R), to going home with you for the night (13,500R). Moreover, those who so desire can pay to bitch out any staff member, including the chef (price depends on which staff member). There's also a private VIP room that is better suited for some of these more intimate services. Speaking of which, a family with a small child (a boy) was dining there on the night we visited. I asked if the boy would also be permitted to avail himself of these auxiliary services if he so desired, but did not receive anything approaching a definitive answer. I guess families with children will just have to figure this one out on their own. Anyway, for all the gory details of the erotic side of Pir, I suggest you look at the appropriate page on their web-site: It's nothing if not comprehensive.

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