Chayhana Salom, amazing Uzbek in Sheepshead Bay
After an urban anthropological site visit to Kings Plaza mall--definitely one of the more interesting malls this country has to offer--I decided I wanted to eat something Russian-y. So I yelped Chicken Tabaka and drove over to this place on Sheepshead Bay road right near the train station.
I could tell from the menu that it was going to be a winner...all sorts of non-Kebab dishes, the usual plovs, lagmans, some samsas, a bunch of salads with no descriptions of what they contain which is often a good sign.
The waiter was very helpful and instructed me to order the Ali-Baba salad, which was made with pan-fried eggplant. I went for the fried lagman, since my friend recently travelled to Kazakhstan and was going on about their fried noodle dish (though he wasn't a fan of the fermented horse milk.) Also got a lamb samsa and a pot of green tea.
This salad--carefully cut thin, rectangular slices of tomato, red and green pepper, supple chunks of eggplant, pickled green peppers, red onion and parsley--just screamed out garlicky, acidic, salty, aggressive deliciousness.
The lagman was fresh noodles, irregularly shaped, chewy with a nice give, sauteed (just greasy enough) with beef, some red peppers, topped with a shredded omelette and some fresh tarragon and parsley. It was great.
The samsa was made to order, a double sided lamb and cumin filled dough pocket. The filling reminded me a bit of the lamb "burger" at Xian Famous Foods, but much less aggressively spiced. It was my least favorite of the three things I ordered, still pretty wonderful though.
Tea was quite posh, whole leaf, served in a porcelain pot with a dish of sugar cubes.
I need to get back there and try more dishes. The kind folks who run the place told me they opened a few weeks before Sandy and were flooded. It's been somewhat of a rough opening. So I figured that I'd (selfishly) do my part to help out with victims of the storm by writing a rare CH review because I want to take my boyfriend here after the new year and I would be majorly pissed if it was gone and I couldn't share it with him.
So, check it out. It's right near the Q stop at Sheepshead Bay, plenty easy to get to and well worth the trip.
1652 Sheepshead Bay Rd.
Thanks to this report, I tried this place on Monday evening. It was definitely worth the trip (not so bad on the B Express!), and was possibly my best meal of the weekend. We had:
Ali Baba Salad - This was fantastic. Grilled eggplant and some grilled peppers, topped with fresh tomato and pepper and herbs in a dressing. Some part of the salad were cold, others were warm, and it looked very colorful.
Fried lagman was as PAL describes. I would have enjoyed a bit of heat (maybe I could have asked for chili sauce?) but the flavor was still good and the noodles were great. Nice and chewy. Pieces of meat were pretty small.
Manty were filled with ground meat (beef, I think?) flavored with lots of dill. It came with plain yogurt, though I also used a mild red sauce that came w/ the kebab. There was a bit of gristle in the meat, which I didnt love, and these were on the salty side, but overall really good.
Homemade bread was a bit dense, but hot and tasted like it was fresh from the oven. The waitress recommended that we try it, and I can't remember if we were charged for it or not. If we were, it was inexpensive.
Kebabs were surprisingly large for the price (3 and 4 dollars for the Luiya and Lamb). Luiya meatballs were juicy and not over salty, and the lamb was tender. The kebabs took a while to come out, since they were obviously freshly prepared. Served w/ marinated onions dusted w/ zaatar. The lamb kebabs alternated between the meat and small pieces of fat, which were delicious.
Total bill for more food than 2 of us could eat was $35 before tip, which was an amazing bargain. Only our waitress spoke English, as far as I could tell, and most other customers who came in/out were speaking Russian.
All in all, a great Chowhound find. This was my first time eating at an Uzbek restaurant, and I would definitely love to return. The service was friendly, the atmosphere was homey, and the food all tasted homemade and assembled/cooked with care.
Pictures: Ali baba salad, lagman, bread, manty, kebabs, manty w/ the yogurt sauce.