Vostok: Brooklyn Bukharian
I just posted about this on my blog. It doesn't seem to have ever been mentioned on Chowhound, so I'm copying the bulk of it here.
I was introduced to Vostok, in Boro Park on the cusp of Dyker Heights (or vice versa), by my friend Igor, who grew up in Tajikistan. Though the restaurant is not new (Igor tells me he first ate there three years ago), it is seemingly unknown to foodies of the internet, as I could find only one Citysearch user review and no mention on Chowhound. I'm happy to remedy that situation, as this restaurant is worth knowing about. Vostok is, in general, somewhat better than Taam Tov, which I liked, and much better than Kashkar, which I didn't. As with all restaurants of its ilk, Vostok is quite reasonably priced. Igor and I ordered enough food for three, and the check came out to $42 (without drinks).
The samsa, baked meat pies, were excellent, with a fresh-tasting, flaky pastry. The manty, steamed dumplings, had a similar filling to the samsa, as is generally the case. Though perhaps the filling could have used a bit more seasoning, I think Vostok's were the best I've had so far, with skins that had an appealing body and chewiness, more substantial than the ones I've tried at other restaurants.
The lagman, noodles and meat in a tangy soup, accented with star anise, was much better than the bland, greasy version I had at a post-review visit to Taam Tov. The plov, or pilaf, was also quite good. It had a bit of a nutty flavor and was considerably less greasy, and somewhat less sweet, than the Taam Tov version. The only real dud was the mixed pickles plate. Igor, who ordered that one, agreed.
The meal was capped by two kinds of kebabs: lyulya, made from spiced chopped meat, and lamb chops, which were translated on the menu, I believe, as "lamb rib steak." The lamb chops were the highlight of the dinner, though Igor tells me they've had a bolder seasoning in the past. They were plump and tender, and at $5 for a skewer of two chops a steal.
I don't know how Vostok compares to the Rego Park Bukharian restaurants, but it's good, it's cheap, and, only steps away from the D train, at 5507 13th Avenue (at 55th Street), it's convenient.
The full post with photos is at:
So, the bad news is that 5 of us went to Vostok last night, only to find it under construction. They've been closed for a week or two, repainting and putting up new light fixtures, etc. The owner apologized and said they're reopening on Sunday (they have a Saturday night engagement party booking the place).
The good news is that, while one of our party tried to pry alternate neighborhood restaurants from him for us to go to instead, his wife Sofia came out and said, "you want, I cook for you?". Done. We helped sweep up the construction, put out a table in the middle of the room, away from the guys still putting up the chandeliers, and ate a very good meal. Since Fri. eve through Sat is shabbos, Sofia was already preparing all the food that they'd need for Sat night and Sunday. So, except for not having manty, we were in.
Carrot salad and cabbage salad were very fresh and tasty. Mixed salad okay. The samsa (beef) was great. Lagman very nice as well (they had 5 other soups available) and not greasy. Large order for the table of home fries (large, chips type cut) with sauteed mushrooms and onions was addictive. Then an order of veal tongue, which came out on a platter luke warm, but tasty. Then the skewers: we ordered beef heart (they were great), chicken (nice), lamb (very nice) and lamb ribs (very very nice but tough to portion out... easier to gnaw on). Pleasantly full, but without a "stuffed" feel. No dessert, no tea... Sofia was ready to go home & so was hubby (we never got his name).
And, did I mention that they set out a half carafe of vodka and 5 or 6 bottles of Grolsh beer? Yes.
$35pp all in. That includes food, the alcohol and a sizable tip. I'll go back. Maybe when they're open.