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Samarkand Restaurant (Uzbek cuisine)

p
purplesachi Oct 10, 2012 02:25 PM

Has anyone ever gone to Samarkand Restaurant? It's in Feasterville. Here's the link:

http://restaurantsamarkand.com

I had been wanting to go to Uzbekistan or Golden Gates for the past several years now, but just never made it.

I was thinking about checking out one of these two places in the near future, but then I heard from my cousin's Russian co-worker that Samarkand would be a better choice.

I'm wondering if anyone knows about Samarkand, and how it compares to Uzbekistan or Golden Gates, which I see mentioned sporadically on chowhound.

Thanks!
(sorry if i didn't correctly add the hyperlink)

  1. h
    Hungryin theBurbs Dec 20, 2012 11:16 AM

    Just thought I'd throw in another option that I never see talked about--Shish Kabob Palace, on Grant Ave. right in front of the big movie theater.

    This place is much closer (at least for me) than many of the other spots mentioned in this thread. It says "Asian, Russian and Bukharian cuisine" on the sign, but as far as I can tell, the menu is quite similar to Samarkand and Uzbekistan.

    I'm not too knowledgable about this kind of food, but I find it to be well made and delicious. Menu favorites include: that amazing bread, the marinated eggplant, samsa, a green plov called bahsh, and the lamb rib kabobs. There is also a delicious red tomato-based sauce that comes with the samsa and the kabobs. Very similar to the descriptions of Samarkand.

    They also have a great lunch special: $9.99 for bread, soup, an entree and a drink.

    1. p
      purplesachi Dec 18, 2012 05:44 AM

      Just an update...I finally got a chance to go to Samarkand last week, and it was great. Granted, I don't have much experience with Uzbekistan or GG, but I thought the food was very well-seasoned, and everyone I was with was pretty impressed.

      The restaurant is in a strip mall on Bustelton Pike. The dining room had a blue-ish tint, with TVs all over the wall. There were large long tables, as well as some round tables, and a few smaller 2- and 4-tops. This first room fits about 120 persons.

      There is a stage at the other end of the room, where there was a keyboard set up, but no one playing (12 of us went on a Tuesday night, so it was definitely a low-key night), but someone who works there showed us that behind the curtain at the back of the stage is another room with a stage that fits another 120 people. You can rent this room for private events, just not on Saturdays, since this is their busiest night. The employee made it sound like Saturdays the entire room is open (i.e. they don't split up the room, so maybe 250 people are in there at one time) and there's live music on the back stage.

      All the food we tried was outstanding, with the exception of the Samarkand soup, which was too oily for our tastes. The best things I had were the Vostochny salad (fried eggplant), assorted pickles (cucumbers, shredded carrots, chayote, cabbage), Chebureks (an empanada-type food with a flaky pastry outside), the pilaf Samarkand, rolled beef shish kebobs, and the chicken heart shish kebobs.

      There is a LOT of lamb on the menu and in the dishes, so if you don't like lamb that much, this might not be the place for you, though, there's plenty of things on the menu that don't have lamb.

      The place is BYO (we brought vodka and wine) and they even have little glasses at the place settings of all the tables, ready to be used for your vodka. Service was pretty good too, and the waiter was patient with us while we tried to figure out what we wanted to order.

      Oh, and I thought it wasn't that expensive either. There were 12 of us, and we paid < $200 (including tip) and we have a ton of food leftover to eat the next day.

      I think this is a great place to go with a group, and I'm looking forward to trying it out on a Saturday night, to see how the vibe is when it's packed.

      3 Replies
      1. re: purplesachi
        s
        sadiefox Dec 18, 2012 07:20 AM

        I have been meaning to post about my dinner here as well. We went last Friday -- there was live entertainment (a woman singing AND a smoke/light machine). There were just 2 of us and while it was fine, we were definitely in the minority because most others were in large groups. Everything we had was delicious.

        The Registan eggplant salad (fried eggplant with garlic sauce) was delicious. We also had the Samsa which are also meat-stuffed pastries, not sure how they differ from the the Chebureks. I really loved the pickled tomatoes -- they were surprisingly delicious! Crisp yet flavorful. Then we shared the assorted shish kebab platter -- all was wonderful.

        I'm looking forward to going back, as there is lots more on the menu I wanted to try!

        1. re: sadiefox
          p
          purplesachi Dec 18, 2012 08:19 AM

          I also tried the Samsa, which I thought was good. I feel like the pastry is more flaky than the Cheburek, and I liked the filling better in the Cherburek. They are pretty similar though.

          I should also mention that they had this manual with pictures of some of the food items on the list, so you could look through the booklet and if you see something you like, you could order it. This is how we knew about the Cherburek. It's really helpful for people who are not well versed in the cuisine.

          Yes! The pickled tomatoes (which I neglected to mention were in the assorted pickle platter we ordered) were really good, as were the pickled carrots. They had slight heat, and had some sort of other spice that I couldn't immediately recognize (maybe caraway?).

          Glad to know there was live entertainment on a Friday. We picked up a menu on the way out and while I don't have the menu right here, I feel like there was mention of a belly dancer on one night.

          1. re: purplesachi
            s
            sadiefox Dec 18, 2012 08:25 AM

            Also, that red sauce that was served with the Samsa and kebabs was ADDICTIVE!

      2. b
        Boognish Oct 21, 2012 12:21 PM

        Does anyone know if this place is byob? I have a dedicated driver until May, so it might be fun to bring a bottle of vodka. I noticed someone enjoying some shots in the Inky video.

        1. p
          purplesachi Oct 20, 2012 12:17 PM

          how random. laban just gave the place 2 bells: http://www.philly.com/philly/food/201...

          1 Reply
          1. re: purplesachi
            b
            Bashful3 Oct 21, 2012 07:42 AM

            Oh yeah. Just read that review, and as an avid lover of lamb, I decided to organize
            a small group to join us on a weekday.

            Love to hear from anyone who has been there as to 'not to miss dishes' and dishes
            that left something to be desired, better to avoid. Another plus, it is open on Mondays,
            which could be good. We won't be going until December.

          2. oliviasaru Oct 13, 2012 06:21 AM

            I'd love to hear about Samarkand. I've eaten lunch at Uzbekistan, and it was delicious and quite low-key. I can see how the atmosphere might change at dinner, though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: oliviasaru
              d
              DaisyM Oct 16, 2012 02:16 PM

              Uzbekistan is low key. No floor show, just lots of toasts and laughter.

            2. p
              purplesachi Oct 12, 2012 05:54 AM

              So the only extra info I was able to get was that it was more low key than the other two places (after my cousin asked for "good traditional russian food without the excess of a show", which is why I guess he recommended Samarkand. (the co-worker is Ukranian, btw).

              I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and try it out in the near future. If I do, I'll make sure to post my experience on the board.

              1 Reply
              1. re: purplesachi
                c
                cwdonald Oct 12, 2012 06:18 AM

                That makes sense... it is less of a nightclub then.

                In looking at the menu on the Samarkand website, a considerable portion of it is Uzbek food, which is much closer to Middle Easter/Turkish than Russian. They do have the old standards like Chicken Kiev on the menu...

              2. c
                cwdonald Oct 10, 2012 05:15 PM

                I am curious what your colleague said was better about this place, (and no I have not been).

                1 Reply
                1. re: cwdonald
                  p
                  purplesachi Oct 11, 2012 05:17 AM

                  Me too. I'll see if I can find out more info from my cousin's co-worker.

                  Maybe I'll also try and find some time to go out there to try it, and then try Uzbekistan or GG when I get a chance and do a comparison.

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