Di Fara, Bukhara
Tried both of these recently on forays out Coney Island Avenue. Di Fara was great -- I wouldn't have believed a simple bowl of spaghetti with marinara sauce could be such perfection. And the salad was equally great. My friend got a slice of pizza, which was ok, but the pasta was superior. I plan to go back frequently.
I had very high expectations for Bukhara. The nan was wonderful, as was the dal and the chicken dish I had. But some of the other dishes (mostly vegetarian) were sitting in at least a cup of oil. I'm not usually one to complain about too much oil, but this was over the top. The samosas and other appetizers were cold and somewhat flavorless. I'll give it another try, though, and be more careful in my ordering.
We've been eating pizza from DiFara for over 20 years and kept telling Dominic that one of these days he'd be discovered! His pizza is the best in the entire city. His specially prepared dishes are something to rave about. My sister and her husband come from Staten Island to take home Dominic's specialties. We found Bukhara in Mr. Leff's book but have not tried it as yet. We will eventually.
Di Fara is just off coney Island Ave - I believe at J
and 14th (check Jim Leff's book). Everything we have
tried has been excellent - I particularly enjoyed a
soup with chickpeas (ceci) which I was told were baked
in the oven and therefore stayed crisp, and greens,
with a mound of his fragrant, wonderful freshly grated
The family checked out Bukhara Saturday night - at
first whiff, husband said it smelled just like an
afghan kebab shop (in afghanistan) All of the meat
dishes were impeccable, delicious and different in
taste from one another - the beef and chicken kebabs,
the lamb curry and the chicken in a light-colored
"pickle" sauce - so named, perhaps, because of the
predominant flavor of kalonji (black seeds) which are
used in many pickles? The spinach (saag) also tasted
real good, but, as previously noted in this thread,
both it and the dal suffered from a perhaps
traditional but to me extreme excess of oil in the
preparation. Samosas were standard, served without any
chutney or dipping sauce and raita was nothing much.
Rice (basmati with spices) was quite good, but the
naans - I will agree that everyone was eating them,
and we were too, but they were bisquick naan (leavened
with baking powder, not yeast)- a terrible and growing
trend in NY. Despite sprinkling of sesame, and the
fact that they were fresh and did soak up the sauces,
they tasted and even looked like dry third-rate
pancakes! aargh. desserts were all good quality and
fresh, and a good deal at $4.50 per lb . All in all,
a very high-quality of food and pleasant surroundings,
but to be thought of as more a place for a quick lunch
or snack than as a dinner destination.
re: jen kalb
Thanks for the report (really glad so many of you are going to DiFara's, by the way; what a great place, what a great man).
I agree about Bukhara being more lunch or snack than a big deal sit-down dinner, mostly because it's such fast frantic service...it's sure not a lingering scene.
Yes, their stuff is oily (it's a Pakistani Punjabi thang). The nans tasted real good when I was last there (half a year ago, I think), but that might have changed. Also, please remember the possibility that they ran out of dough that night and had to come up with a quickie solution. Nick's Pizza in Forest Hills is known to use Polly-O when the superb mozzarella from Corona Hts. Pork Store runs out.
Pakistani Punjabi places tend to place far less emphasis on chutney and raita than other subcontinent places...not sure if that's a regional thing or simply a function of the kinds of places they tend to open in NYC.
Also, I love the service at Bukhara. Everyone's so friendly and hopeful, though all indications would indicate otherwise (again, it's fast pace and bare bones).