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Cafe Kashkar in Brighton Beach

  • j
  • JackS Jan 4, 2004 05:26 PM

Last night I went to this restaurant. I was first told about it by a friend who has traveled in Xinjiang and said that it was a Uighur restaurant, and then Sietsema gave it a good review a couple of months ago. I think that I should adjust my timing for this place, because we showed up at 8 pm on a Saturday night and were told that they were out of most items on the menu.

We ordered a potato salad, which was nice - not unusual for that dish, except nicely seasoned with dill. They gave us a carrot salad, too, which was similar to carrot salads I've had at Uzbek restaurants, although not as good (especially not as good at Registan in Rego Park). The lagman (lamb broth with noodles, cilantro, and spcies) was also not as good as lagman I had at Registan - not as flavorful.

However, the lamb kebabs were spectacular! There were two varieties, a straight-up lamb and lamb ribs. Both were tasty, juicy (alright, greasy, but in the best possible way), and flavorful.

The place actually seemed more Russian or Bukharan/Uzbek than Uighur (I am under the impression that Ramen King in the Flushing Food Court is Uighur, but I could be wrong), but whatever -- it's nice to have a good food option in Brighton Beach, where I have found it hard to find tasty food.

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  1. Thanks for this post! I've been meaning to get out to Cafe Kashkar in Brighton Beach (where I grew up many years ago) with a friend who has been trying to track a certain cuisine from Xinjiang. We came across Cafe Kashkar in a search (this board plus the Sietsma article you mentioned) and want to try this kind of Uighur food.

    However, the cuisine my friend is REALLY trying to find is from another ethnic group in Xinjiang, he describes it as Muslim Chinese cooking. He fell in love with it in San Francisco at a restaurant called Old Mandarin (on Vincente), and has been feverishly searching for something like it on the east coast ever since. His quest has led us to discover and sample Indian Chinese food, which was fun, but not exactly what he was looking for. After reading about Cafe Kashkar, we were intrigued (and we definitely plan to go), but it still doesn't seem to be exactly what he's been searching for. Do you or your friend who's travelled in Xinjiang have any ideas or leads for this poor guy? He has been obsessing about this food for over a year.

    Thanks again for the post, and any ideas or leads will be most appreciated.

    14 Replies
    1. re: deena

      Out of curiosity (I'd always thought the Uygur were Chinese Muslims), I researched this and found that the Chinese Muslims are also called Hui. Regardless, the only restaurants I've been able to find out about are not here in New York except that there is one called Greenhouse Restaurant in Manhattan at 37 East 29th Street (212) 684-9692 where the male owner is Muslim and they seem to be halal, but his wife isn't Muslim. It received mixed ratings, but many good at the halal restaurant guide site. Other than that, the closest place is in Rockville, MD.

      1. re: JH Jill

        Many thanks for all the info. I think that it might be Hui style cuisine that my friend is searching for-- there are probably several groups of Muslim Chinese from Xingjiang. I will check out the Greenhouse menu. And, just for the heck of it, do you have the name of the place you mentioned in Maryland?

        Thanks again,
        deena

        1. re: deena

          For years there was a little hole in the wall place on 4th Ave near Bergen or thereabouts called "No Pork Chinese Restaurant." The name tickled me, and I always assumed they were just catering to the Arab population in the neighborhood (or maybe someone was allergic??), but it turns out that the owners, brothers, were indeed Chinese Muslims. I don't know if it's still there.

          1. re: Amy Mintzer

            It's still there on the west side of Fourth Ave.

            1. re: jkl

              So many thanks to all who responded with such fascinating information and tips! It would seem that my friend is indeed seeking Hui style cuisine-- now if he could only find it someplace close to New York or Boston (he actually lives in Providence, but comes to NY frequently, and we do lots of chowing together.)

              I will check out the No Pork Chinese place, which I know I've passed as it's pretty close to BAM-- I also always figured they were catering to the local population. Meanwhile, if anyone has any leads on more places around the New York area, I'd love to hear about them. It's a bit daunting to realize how hard this cuisine is to find in NYC.

              Thanks again one and all for your help in this quest.

              1. re: deena

                Halal Kitchen (formerly, No Pork Chinese Restaurant) is on the corner of 4th Ave. and Dean St. The food here is typical 1960's Chinese takeout (and not very good 1960's Chinese takeout at that). The only thing that makes it Muslim, is that that meat is halal and of course there is no pork served. There is no harm in trying it once if you wish (it's certainly cheap enough), but I think you will be disappointed.

                1. re: bobjbkln

                  Thanks for the heads up about Halal, formerly No Pork Chinese. As others have pointed out on the Manhattan board on a related topic, there is a big difference between a restaurant that serves some kind of Chinese Muslim style cuisine, and one that is a Chinese restaurant which just happens to be owned or operated by Muslims, and is therefore halal, or because it caters to a Muslim neighborhood.

                  The quest for Hui cuisine continues on....

                  1. re: deena

                    Follow this link:

                    http://www.huangshanguide.com/around7...

                    1. re: Donna

                      This link concerning Hui Cuisine makes no mention of Muslim origins. In fact, the listed dishes include those made of pork.

                      1. re: bobjbkln

                        Yes, this is confusing-- it seems to be referring to a kind of Hui cuisine which is not related to the Hui minority ethnic group, which is Muslim (see link below.) I did find another site with a bit of info about this style of cuisine. As for restaurants-- still searching.

                        http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro...

                        1. re: deena

                          I can recommend Peking Eastern House Restaurant at 16041 Frederick Road in Rockville MD (tel 301 527 8558). I can also highly recommend China Islamic Restaurant at 7727 East Garvey Ave, Rosemead CA (tel 626 288 4246) in suburban L.A. Last week in L.A. I had their most wonderful lamb dumplings, fresh hand-cut noodles with lamb, sesame bread, and lamb with sa cha sauce...best muslim Chinese food since travelling in Xinjiang, Qinghai and Gansu.

          2. re: deena

            From my understanding, Uighurs are ethnically, linguistically, and culturally related to other Turkic Muslim groups in Central Asia. Xinjiang used to be a seperate country (like Tibet and Inner Mongolia) known as East Turkestan a very long time ago. I think the Chinese cuisine that you and your friend are searching for is the cuisine of the Hui people (who are basically Han Chinese whose ancestors converted to Islam).

            There is a restaurant in Los Angeles called China Islamic which did this cuisine very well. This type of Chinese cuisine was very similiar to the Chinese cuisine of Northern China, Hunan, Szechuan and maybe some other places as well, except, that it was halal and might have had some slight Central Asian influences.

            The resaurant that you are inquiring about in Rockville, MD is called Peking Eastern House (AKA Dong Lai Shun). I have never been there but I have heard mixed reviews.

            Is Cafe Kashgar halal?

            1. re: Harsha

              They advertise themselves as halal.

            2. re: deena

              I lived in China for almost a year. Uyghur food was my favorite dining experience there. Hui are ethnically Chinese (Han) who have converted to Islam and may have some Arab ancestry. Uyghurs have their own Autonomous Region that is also known as Xinjiang ("New Frontier"). They were colonized by the ethnic Chinese. That is the difference. Uyghurs have Turkish/ ancestry and speak an old dialect of Turkish. Their food is influenced by Turkish, Aghani and Indian sources. Lamb is their main meat, while Chinese consume mostly pig flesh. So in fact, Uyghurs are very different than Hui. Like the Tibetans, many hope for independence from China and do not identify as Chinese.

        2. This seems to be the definitive post on this restaurant, so I'll keep it going.

          Was thinking of hitting this place tonight and was wondering if it was still around. Also, is it BYO - my last visit I seem to remember the party next to me had a bottle of vodka that they were sharing.

          1. To answer my own question - yes, it's still around. Yes, it's BYO (a block to the east is a bodega that sells Russian, Latvian, and Ukrainian beers). The food - good as ever - fatty chunks of pork cooked over charcoal. Plov (nee pilaf) and samsas - still tasty. 2 skewers of meat ($3 each), 2 samsas ($2 each), and a plov ($6) - total $16 - $20 w/tax/tip. If you're checking out the neighborhood, definitely consider if you're sick of the standard Russian fare the neighborhood.

            1. Went to Coney Island with friends and their kids and blissfully thankful that we made the trek over to Cafe Kashkar. Definitely worth a trip out there for itself but when you can also walk on the beach and "Shoot the Freak" it is one of the best things to do in NY in the summer.

              Absolute best lamb kebabs and grilled lamb ribs you will find. Soup with little lamb dumplings was exquisite, clear broth with essence of lamb from the fat leaking out of the dumplings. A pirogy-type item stuffed with layered potato slices and cabbage topped with a tomato based sauce (I can't remember the name). Marinated eggplant/pepper/garlic salad. All of it fantastic and increadibly cheap. They are open 10am-10pm 7 days a week, 1141 BBAve.

              Afterwards walk toward CI on Brighton Beach Avenue and stop into those markets and marvel at everything--maybe get a fresh-baked blintz or sour cherry pastries...the Russian bar/resturant on the NE corner of Coney Island Ave and BBAve (not under the subway tracks, across from the Washington Mutual Bank) serves big ice cold mugs of Baltika on tap (the food in there looked pretty good too).

              1. As lambretta76 said in July, this seems to be the thread on Kashkar so I'll thank everyone for the above and mention that a group of us are going for dinner on Monday 12/18. Anyone interested in joining, my e-mail is martinowitz@aol.com

                2 Replies
                1. re: Steve R

                  Yet another reason for keeping old threads around and not exiling them to some digital Gulag.

                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                    gotta agree with the rave reviews on this board about cafe kashkar. haven't been there in a year but every time i've really enjoyed all of their offerings.

                    incidentally, in the ny times article on central asian food from january 2006, it was mentioned that "there is at least one other" uighur restaurant in the city. anyone know the name of this other place, as well as the location? seems kind of funny that julia moskin would mention this fact in passing and not divulge the eatery's name.

                2. May be Arzu in Queens? Just like you, surly, my BF and I were recommended to it by his barber. All 3 barbers at that barbershop (Bukharan Jews who live in FH) refered to the restaurant as 'Uighur'. I believe their cook is an Uighur. They do too have those toasted chili peppers in oil - stuff that you're more likely to find in Chinese restaurants.

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: welle

                    Uighur Restaurants in USA
                    Arzu Restaurant
                    101-05 Queens Blvd (between 102 St & 67 RD)
                    Queens, New York
                    718-830-3335

                    Isik Kol Restraint
                    Queens Blvd & 63rd Road
                    Queens, New York
                    718-997-6262

                    Kashkar Cafe
                    1141 Brighton Beach Ave
                    Brooklyn, New York 11235
                    718-743-3832

                    http://www.meshrep.com/addressbook/ui...

                    1. re: Peter Cherches

                      Isik Kol may not exist anymore - I'm not very sure. I don't think I've noticed it when I go to Rego park and it doesn't get mentioned here much.

                      1. re: welle

                        I can't tell when that last was last updated.

                        1. re: Peter Cherches

                          i was passing through queens blvd today and, though i didn't have time to stop by any of these places, made a concerted effort to look out for arzu and isik kol. definitely saw the former, but not the latter; perhaps it is in fact closed.

                          can anyone verify this?

                      2. re: Peter Cherches

                        And don't forget A Fan Ti in Flushing, which has some Uighur dishes and which is likely named after a famous Uighur restaurant in Peking. They have dishes from all over China, so long as they have lamb.

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/247585

                        Sietsema's review (he took rock star Dr John the Night Tripper):
                        http://www.villagevoice.com/nyclife/0...

                        1. re: Brian S

                          Hey Brian, as far as I know Dr. John hasn't been a night tripper for in over 30 years! I once met him at Katz's, of all places.

                          1. re: Peter Cherches

                            Did they eat gris gris gumbo ya ya? Damn, we're old. I have that album (anyone remember vinyl?).

                            1. re: Steve R

                              I'm sure there are some people here who remember shellac.

                              1. re: Steve R

                                Impressive...A near three-year-old thread!

                                Who knows what December 18th will bring...perhaps I'll show at the dinner.

                                For the "vinyl" gang, there's a crossover event happening this Saturday - I'll e-mail you off-the-board.

                        2. re: welle

                          Sietsema's been watching us again...

                          http://www.villagevoice.com/nyclife/0...

                          1. re: emkay

                            "odiferous" lamb rib?

                            1. re: jen kalb

                              Must be the rib closest to the armpit.

                            2. re: emkay

                              Glad to see my favorite Uzbek place reviewed. Couple of things he got wrong: 1) the place is not new - I've been hearing about it for at least 6-7 years, and have been going there for 3 years (the reason for the gap is a cpl of times we couldn't find it, and a few times we got there during Shabat); 2) their lagman uses lamb meat not beef as Sietsema writes, that's why it's so flavorful.
                              It also needs to be noted that they make fresh manti - a couple of times we wanted to order them and their Uighur cook that makes them was already gone and we couldn't have our manti. They also have the most amazing russian-style potato salad, but you have to order it in advance and minimum 6 people. They actually have a quite extensive special order menu with many Uzbek/Uighur specialties that you can't find at other Regostan places - I've been wanting to try (but it's again minimum 6 orders).

                              1. re: welle

                                great thread. can you describe Arzak's potato salad?

                                1. re: jen kalb

                                  it has a lot of meat in it (beef I think), all the ingredients are cut really small, very little mayo and not watery (so when you put the salad on a plate the mass retains its form). Now that I think of it, I think it doesn't have carrots like many russian potato salads do. I only had it once, when I was in a big group. Also, if you are in a small group, a great way to get some of the specials is when you see any large group dining and see big plates of food in the middle of their table (they serve them communal style, that's how we had our salad at least), you can ask the waitress if they have any more of that in the kitchen.

                          2. i just went back to cafe kashkar tonight for the first time in over a year. my impression was that some of the dishes were as good as i'd remembered, while some were not. i should disclose, though, that i showed up fairly late in the evening (around 10pm) and the person who prepared my food may not have been the "regular" cook - she was doing all of the waitressing and apparently all of the cooking as well (although it's possible that someone in the back was helping her). because of this, i got the sense that had i shown up earlier in the evening, someone else would've been manning the kitchen. i guess i'll have to come back at an earlier hour and find out for myself.

                            anyhow, the two best dishes were the manty (lamb dumplings) and samsa (lamb turnovers). i'd say both dishes were of the same high quality as on my previous visits. i noticed a cosmetic change in the samsa, though: in the past, the samsa was composed of "four miniature conjoined mutton pies" (to quote sietsema in his 2003 review of kashkar), whereas tonight this dish came out as one large, round pastry. not sure of the reason for the change, but it was as good as ever.

                            we also got lamb rib kebabs, boneless chicken kebabs ("bone-in" wasn't available tonight), veal kebabs, lagman (noodle soup), goiro lagman (stir-fried noodles), khanum (dumplings filled with potato shavings and topped with red sauce), and lepeshka (large, round "national bread").

                            the lamb rib kebabs were very good - i think they may have been slightly more juicy on previous visits, but i couldn't really complain. the veal appeared to be a little dry upon first inspection but ended up being pretty soft and flavorful, albeit slightly lukewarm. the chicken was just ok; i'd definitely get the bone-in chicken next time if it's available.

                            as for the other dishes:
                            the lagman was good, but not as enjoyable as in the past. not sure why, but it didn't seem like the ingredients were as fresh or flavorful as i'd remembered. the goiro lagman was better than the lagman soup, but again, i seem to have liked it better on previous visits. and the khanum was just ok; it was our first time trying it, so perhaps our lack of familiarity with the dish rather than the preparation itself was the reason for our tepid reaction.

                            we washed it all down with a kettle of green tea, and my friend also grabbed some beers from the deli on the corner (cafe kashkar is BYO). our total including tax was $62 for four people.

                            incidentally, i tried ordering the pilaf (a.k.a. plov or "plow" at other central asian restaurants) and the waitress bluntly responded, "don't get it - it's not good tonight". funny, because i'd always enjoyed that dish here on previous visits.

                            all in all, i'd say cafe kashkar is still pretty good, but i was mildly disappointed (especially with the lagman dishes). maybe all the recent talk about central asian food on this site and in the village voice had raised my expectations to unreasonable levels. in any event, i'd like to return soon, and at an earlier time (they're open daily from 12pm-11pm) to see if there's any noticeable difference in the food quality.

                            1. I must say that though much of the food last night was OK, I was in general unimpressed. The kebabs were merely servicable. I did like the Geiro Lagman with its star anise accent. The manty are much better at Montreal's Uighur restaurant.

                              They were all out of samsa & plov so we couldn't try those.

                              If anybody who was there with me has a rundown of the order, please post it. I didn't keep a tally.

                              http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Peter Cherches

                                I thought we had a pretty knowledgable group (8 of us) and, unless one of the others has a different sense of it, I too was basically unimpressed. I've learned not to give up on a place after one try (especially on a Monday night) but I expected more. The carrot salad was excellent; great use of sesame oil. The eggplant salad (pieces of eggplant, sweet peppers, etc) also had a freshness to it and I'd get it again. The manty w/potato shavings were actually my favorite. The small "raviolis" (pelmeni?) were servicable but ehh, the lagman didnt impress me (I noticed the anise as well and liked it). The meat on the skewers were all of good tender quality but, as Peter said, were only servicable due to lack of any real depth. I did like the liver skewers the best, but the lamb was nice. I like rice krispy treats better than their similar (sole) dessert & even the tea was weak & the bread only okay. Did I miss any dishes?

                                Bottom line is that it's worth a repeat visit to see if a good meal can be put together with careful ordering. But, given that there was a total of one couple there the entire time we ate, I'm not sure that they can afford to prepare anything fresh (although the salads sure tasted freshly made). The cost was $25pp without alcohol (byob) but included a 33% tip. For the price, worth the trying.

                                1. re: Steve R

                                  potatoes in manty - sounds very russified to me. also you put any starch into the filling and it absorbs all the broth and it kills half of the fun of good manty.

                              2. Steve
                                You pretty much are spot on with my views. The carrot salad was the highlight of the evening; that should give you an idea. I found myself always looking for something to dip my bread (which was not that fresh) into. In general the meal (perhaps its just Uighur food) was lacking in sauces or interesting flavours. All in all a disapointment. Good time though, always fun to try something different, just not going to be part of my lineup....

                                1. If I'm in Brighton Beach for an early spring walk on the boardwalk, I could have a happy comfort food lunch at Cafe Kashkar with the carrot salad for flavor; khanum for blandish fillingness (I mean that in the good way); and a manti or two for greasiness (also in the good way). But I wouldn't race back for dinner or a feast any time, since it didn't quite come together. Most notably, I think the absence of fabulous fresh bread (I expected homemade, slightly charred flat bread) or plov left a hole in a kebab-based meal.

                                  1. i also went with the others to cafe kashkar last night. i was one of the only members of our party who had been here before, so i pretty much knew what to expect. referencing my dec. 2 post from above, i felt that my last visit was somewhat disappointing, so i wanted to make a return visit at an earlier hour.

                                    last night, we arrived at kashkar around 7pm and were 1 of only 2 parties in the place.

                                    as the others mentioned, we ordered a bunch of different items from the menu. in addition to the aforementioned dishes, i'd like to clarify a few things and point out a couple of omissions:

                                    the dish that steve referred to as "manty with potato shavings" is called "khanum". it's exactly as he described it, except that it's topped with some type of red sauce.

                                    we wanted to order the samsa and the pilaf (a.k.a. plov or plow at most central asian restaurants), but neither were available, as was the case with the regular lagman soup and lamb chop kebabs. this is not an insignificant detail, as the samsa has always been one of the highlights here, while the lamb chop kebab was delicious the one time it was available (although that was at least two years ago). i also remember enjoying the pilaf (plov) on a long-ago visit, but once again, it was unavailable this time around. and i always found the lagman soup here to be quite good, with the notable exception of my visit from several weeks ago. in short, it was frustrating that so many uighur staples were unavailable, even though we'd arrived at an early dinner hour. perhaps some of these items sell out by early to mid-afternoon?

                                    in their place, we ordered a bunch of dishes that i'd never eaten here, including the two salads and the pelmeni. but what really caught our eye upon entering was a sausage sitting in the glass case next to our table. we all agreed that we absolutely had to order it, and asked the waitress where it was located on the menu. she responded, "it's not on the menu, but it's similar to naryn (item #1 in the 'special orders' section)."

                                    this seemed rather odd, since naryn is described on the menu as "pieces of dough w/seasoning". we were confused - especially since our waitress' english wasn't the best and she had a difficult time explaining what this was - but we were willing to experiment and ordered it anyway.

                                    what emerged from the kitchen was definitely not what any of us expected. the sausage had been cut into 5 or 6 smallish, rectangular slices and placed atop a bed of slivered dough (or some other carby foodstuff). i don't think any of us "got" what it was, and as the dish itself was on the bland side, no one thought it was great. not terrible, but just blah. again, though, our reaction may have had more to do with the unfamiliar texture of the dish than the preparation itself, so while i don't think i'd order it again at kashkar, i'd like to find out the name so i can try it again someday - at a different uighur restaurant.

                                    the other item we ordered that hasn't been mentioned was #6 on the "special orders" section of the menu: "nokhat", which is described as "lamb meat, kazy". basically, it consisted of chickpeas and pieces of lamb. i definitely enjoyed it more than the naryn-esque dish (#1), but i don't recall feeling blown away by this dish, either. maybe it's deceptively simple and went over my head, or maybe the preparation was lacking. another dish that was just ok but that i'd like to try again in the future.

                                    as for the kebabs, they were merely ok, but not as enjoyable as on previous visits. the lamb rib seemed a little bit gristlier and less satisfying than in the past, but it was still all right. i'd definitely order it again, but feel it somehow used to be tastier. the veal and the liver were fine, about the same level as in the past.

                                    i thought the manty were fine - i had no problem with them. the pelmeni weren't bad, but weren't memorable, either. the goiro lagman was also the same as last time, meaning not as good as several years ago. somehow the preparation of this dish seems sloppier now than in the past. i'd still recommend ordering it, though, to provide a contrast to the dumplings and kebabs. after all, noodles are such a big part of central asian cuisine.

                                    agree with the others that the lepeshka ("national bread") was a disappointment, though. i've definitely had better in the past and at the kosher uzbeki joints in the rego park/forest hills area. one thing to note is that unlike the kosher places, cafe kashkar does not offer middle eastern/mediterranean dips such as baba ghanoush and hummus. without these dips, the lepeshka-eating experience is arguably less enjoyable than at the kosher places. for the sake of commparison, salute in forest hills used to have great dips, though it's been a while since i've been there.

                                    and as steve mentioned, we had a rice krispy-esque dish for dessert that appeared to be made with hardened dry noodle twists and honey. i didn't really have a good feeling about it, but as it was the only dessert available, we figured we ought to order it. it tasted exactly as it looked, meaning dry and forgettable.

                                    for what it's worth, i found a website that has photos of various uighur dishes. if you click on the link below, there's a picture of a uighur lady in the upper right hand corner holding a plate of what might be that dessert from last night:

                                    http://www.wiu.edu/users/mua/food.htm

                                    overall, my impression of last night's outing was that the food was fine but not as hearty or inspired as on previous visits. some dishes were pretty good, while others were odd/hard to figure out, but not at all terrible. i came away feeling that the experience was another half-step down from my previous visit.

                                    all in all, i'd definitely go back, as they were out of so many key uighur dishes last night. but next time, it'll probably be on a saturday on sunday in the early afternoon.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: surly

                                      Thanks for a thorough review and experimentation! #6 special - did it have anything sausagey? the reason I asked is that 'kazy' is a Kazakh specialty (dried sausage made w/ horse meat). it probably doesn't have horse meat here, but I won't be surprised if Uighurs had something similar.

                                      1. re: welle

                                        no prob - the dinner might not have reached expectations but it was still fun eating out with a group and trying new items. i'm just hoping that all of their staple dishes are available next time.

                                        hmm, as far as i can recall, there was nothing sausage-like in the nokhat (#6). i might be wrong, though - i was kind of overwhelmed by the amount of chickpeas in the dish and sort of focused on that. at dinner the other night, we were actually speculating that there might be some middle eastern influences in that dish because of the presence of chickpeas, but we could be totally wrong. i even tried looking up this dish on google to find out more, but to no avail.

                                        i wouldn't be surprised if the nokhat dish as prepared for us is much different than the actual preparation in central asia. as far as i can tell, there is a lot of overlap between the cuisines of the various central asian turkic peoples, so i'd totally bet that the uighurs make a horse meat-based version of nokhat, just like the kazakhs.

                                        1. re: surly

                                          Surly, I did some Internet digging in cyrilic and found that nokhat just means 'chick peas', derived from Turkish 'nohut'. You may find this article interesting (in English): http://www.forward.com/articles/chick...
                                          I also found that one of traditional uzbek dishes is just chickpeas cooked with salt and pepper and onions: http://www.ljplus.ru/img/m/a/max_rote...

                                          1. re: welle

                                            thanks for the article and photo, welle - most informative. it's funny, we really didn't get a sense of what we were ordering off the special orders menu until the dishes emerged from the kitchen. that's ok, though, as experimenting at ethnic restaurants is always fun.

                                            the nokhat that we got at cafe kashkar consisted almost entirely of chickpeas on a plate with sliced onions. like i said, very simple. but if they have this dish at arzu or perhaps the uighur restaurant in montreal that peter cherches mentioned, i'd love to try it. (during dinner the other night, peter was telling us how the montreal uighur restaurant was pretty good, better than kashkar in his opinion).

                                        2. re: welle

                                          i wanted to ask as well about the lamb with "kazy" dish as that definitely means with horse meat, a Kazakh specialty that kinda resembles spaghetti with bolognese sauce sans the tomato sauce.

                                      2. yeah, i think i have little to say that has not been already said. i very much wanted to like it, but i found it pretty flat. i did not like the carrot salad as much as you guys, but the kabab made me happier.

                                        now i'm wondering one thing which is somewhat off-thread: i used to very much like a now-closed central asian place called chio pio on brighton 4. it has been replaced with something with a similar menu; does anyone know if it is good? i notice (source = wikipedia -- i know little about this part of the world) that the uighurs and the uzbeks are "related ethnic groups").

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: babar ganesh

                                          Related ethnic groups as in Turkic, I assume. The Uighurs themselves refer to Xinxiang Province as East Turkestan.

                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Tur...

                                          1. re: babar ganesh

                                            man, I miss that place! haven't been to the place that replaced it - looked kind of too generic.
                                            It's really confusing, as for uighur-uzbek thing. My understanding is they're the same people, with slightly different dialects, but separated and made believe that they're different people by authoritarian regimes of USSR (now Uzbekistan) and China. Eastern Turkestan is what Uighur separatists call themselves, instead of using chinese Xianjiang, adding 'Eastern' as a pre-text for a greater ambition for unifying with Uzbekistan.

                                            1. re: welle

                                              i wouldn't call that place generic but it looked a bit cheesy to me. that being said, the menu had a lot in common with the old chio pio. i think it is worth a look -- chio pio was our new years' lunch place for a few years so maybe we'll head over there then.

                                          2. Sorry that Kashkar was somewhat dissapointing to the group...the three times I have been there I have absolutely loved it, chiefly for the lamb kebabs, lamb rib kebabs (have never been gristly!), samsas (sorry they were out) and the lamb dumpling soup. The fat from these dumplings leaks out and floats in the broth, making it aromatic and full of lamb goodness. A friend who "doesn't like lamb" was even converted to liking their lamb on my last visit. Bread was forgettable and not too fresh, I agree, and I liked geiro lagman chiefly for the handmade noodles rather than any really interesting saucing.

                                            All my visits were at lunchtime on the weekend, maybe there are different people doing the cooking at night. I agree it's a simple place for grabbing lunch perhaps, rather than a destination place for a feast. I am looking forward to trying some of the places in Regostan.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: kenito799

                                              i agree with your sentiments - for the most part, i've had very good meals at kashkar. only on the past two visits has the food been somewhat disappointing, and even so i still plan on coming back. i'm just not sure right now whether the place has slightly declined or is simply uneven. as mentioned my next visit will definitely be during lunchtime.

                                              i can't believe our group forgot to order the shurpa or the lamb dumpling soup (chuchwara?). i remember the waitress telling us that the lagman soup was unavailable, and after that we just got the geiro lagman instead.

                                            2. Here's my blog post, with photos of khanum, naryn & geiro lagman:

                                              http://petercherches.blogspot.com/200...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Peter Cherches

                                                nice post + pictures. funny, i think i'm the only one who wasn't as crazy about the khanum at kashkar. to me it was bland and unremarkable; i'd felt the same way on my previous visit, too. might just be a matter of personal preference rather than the preparation itself, you know? also, i probably disagree with others at the table, but i actually liked the manty. i thought it was better than at most of the kosher uzbek places in queens, though i think i remember enjoying it more on past visits. same with the samsa, which unfortunately wasn't available on the night we came.

                                              2. Hello guys, my name is Tursun and I'm Uighur from China.

                                                First of all it's pleasure to know you here, and I noted someone asked "is the cafe Kashkar halal", for this question I'm sure it's Halal.

                                                Also I'm find this web CHOW by accident, actually I'm looking for some information about the Uighur Restaurant abroad, such as USA. CANADA etc, because we are preparing a web and introduce ths Uighur Foods is one of the parts of this web, so not only introduce the Uighur Foods and offering all Uighur Restaurant address in China, we also want to know some Uighur Restaurant in other country, so if you know more resaurant in your country I'm very appreciate if you can send me the information.

                                                my e-mail is happytony2008@hotmail.com, this mail is can be MSN messanger also. welcome you if want to know more about Uighur foods or Uighur culture.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Tursun

                                                  I went to Cafe Kashkar and liked it. But I didn't find the main dish I was hoping to find, which I ate in China: "Big Plate Chicken." This dish is fantastic! I have been searching and searching for recipes or restaurants that serve it in the US. It seemed so simple on the one hand - chicken, potatoes, red bell pepper...but the seasoning was amazing.

                                                2. I would recommend the shishkebab made of lamb liver. Saute jucy, tender, and not overdone. The meals are fatty and bit spicy in general making it a great chaser for vodka.

                                                   
                                                   
                                                   
                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Sergey Flantus

                                                    The presentation might not be that great as you may se at the pictures but the authenticity of the food is guaranteed. The owner of the restaurant cook meals himself. You may even shake his hand when leaving. He will thank you for coming. That's traditional Asian hospitality.

                                                     
                                                     
                                                     
                                                  2. I tried to go to Cafe Kashkar a couple of weekends ago after reading about it on this board. The restaurant was practically empty, but the waitress insisted that we couldn't be seated as the tables were all "reserved". When we asked how long the wait would be she told us "a long time". So we had to leave! Hungry and disappointed! I was so mad at myself I didn't make a back-up plan. So, call ahead for those "reservations" or have a second choice. She must not have liked my outfit or something... it was really weird!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: hostessnumberone

                                                      That's bizarre - she could've at least offered you a take out and you could've eaten either at a beach or in a park. Anyway, I don't think you missed much.
                                                      I went to CK about a month ago, it was all empty except for a table of 3-4 Americans. Instant flag - Sunday night on Brighton beach usually all restaurants are full with Russians dining after a long shopping/errands day. So I decided to try the only dish that appealed to me kaz (meat sausage) - as a take-out, and if good planned to dine in. Very few tinily sliced pieces of very bland meat covered with onion for $8 was a rip-off. Disappointed, but glad for not spending our time and money we walked few blocks south to the main Brighton drag and had a good dinner of siberian pelmeni and pork chops.