Restaurant “Noodles”/Ресторан «Нудлс»
+7 (495) 623-53-96
Большой Черкасский переулок 15-17/1 (closest metro: Лубянка, Китай-Город)
Sunday through Thursday: 12:00 to 0:00
meals starting from $11
meat; under the supervision of the Chief Rabbinate of Russia (R’ Berel Lazar)
It was Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, so I needed a place where I could get a good meal with bread and meat, as is customary for the first day of the new Hebrew month. I had been waiting to try this restaurant right the center of Moscow that both kosher and business-friendly. Intrigued by their бизнес ланч options, I rushed over to Noodles as soon as the day’s classes had finished to satisfy my hunger and my curiosity.
The restaurant façade blended into the rest on Bol’shoy Cherkassky Pereulok, and even though the banner with the Noodles logo is clearly visible, the building is so long that one has to look for the door with a mezuzah. Everything inside looks typically New Russian, with simple walls set against gaudy chandeliers in a sea of purple; besides the bookshelves in the side room holding Jewish texts, there is nothing about Noodles that screams kosher. Of special note are the restrooms, which are the nicest I have encountered in Russia. As for seating, one can choose from booths, small square tables, or large round tables. There is also a bar, though I did not see anyone sitting there when I visited. That particular afternoon, most people were eating by themselves, evidently taking a break from the office. Apparently the place gets livelier and more group-oriented for dinner, but lunch at Noodles is clearly for business, with бизнес ланч options offered daily until 5:00 PM.
I decided to order the full бизнес ланч, with a soup, salad, entrée, and drink (650 rubles). Similar options are soup, salad, and drink (450) and soup or salad, entrée, and drink (550). This is by far the best deal on the menu, as à la carte items and the dinner menu are significantly more expensive, and there are four or five choices for each бизнес ланч component, all quite attractive. I settled upon борщ, Brooklyn salad, Noodles bolognese, and orange juice. The борщ was delicious, containing small pieces of beef, along with mayonnaise; it exceeded my expectations. The salad consisted of cut tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and onions, which were fresh and crunchy, and served as a healthy palate cleanser after the borsch. The bolognese, spaghetti in beef sauce with cherry tomatoes and arugala, was perfect; it reminded me of the almost weekly bolognese that I had growing up. The juice was nothing remarkable. Additionally, I received, without asking, a selection of breads (small rolls, challah, rye toast); I am not sure whether this always happens or just for festive days, but it is worth inquiring. I found myself very full at the end of this meal.
The service at Noodles was fine. Catering to professionals, the waitstaff was personable and brought the food after no wait at all; I was in and out of there in an hour. The menu is in Russian only, but there should not be any communication problems if one knows how to fare in a restaurant. The books on the shelves are not just for decoration, and one should not be afraid to ask to read them, particularly if sitting alone. I wish I could take someone out to Noodles next time to enjoy the amazing food and ambiance, but I am nevertheless glad that I could fulfill my Rosh Chodesh obligation in such a classy and businesslike establishment.
For groups and faculty-led tours, Noodles could provide a comfortable experience. However, there is not much to be gleaned culturally, besides a sense of modern Russian business spirit. This restaurant, being kosher and located in central Moscow, may be a stretch for some students’ budgets, though one should note that бизнес ланч is available until 5:00 PM.