Uzbekistan- authentic fusion cooking
- Vinnie Vidimangi
7117 Bathurst St just above Steeles
Uzbekistan is in Central Asia and was an important place in the days of the Great Silk Road. The cooking has a Russian influence, and a bit of everything else that has come along.
I have been at the restaurant twice. I can heartily recommended for the general taste the chicken kebob ($10.99 I think, the chicken is not on the menu, $12.99 at the most) and the soups. The manti ($8.99) are good, but you might think the soured meat filling for the dumplings a bit funny, similarly the other meat filled appetizers.
The meal starts with complimentary homemade dill pickles which are terrific (it also depends on how far they are along the way to fully pickled and your taste) and Persian style naan that has sat but has been warmed up, and a pot of very nice mint tea. Both kebobs and manti were large servings. Indeed the two dishes could easily feed three people. My suggestion is to plan on sharing.
The chicken kebob were superb; the best I have ever had, but caution, they are flavoured with a bit of fennel seed which may not be to your taste.
The soups are like a pho and filling. Be careful not to over order. They are very good and grease free.
The manti is with a nice yoghurt dill sauce on the side.
The potato side is thin sliced and fried. It is good but very oily. I think that this is the authentic style. Next time I will ask for rice.
A lettuce salad comes with the main course. Don't let them put on the institutional Italian dressing. There is oil and vinegar on the table; better yet ask for the yoghurt sauce from the manti.
Dessert is a cylinderical pastry shell filled with walnuts. I haven't tried it, no room.
A soup and kebob plus the extras are $16.00 max and will leave you pleased and more than satisfied. And to think that for $130 plus 15% plus 15% you can get the tasting menu at Susur! Hell, the tax is more than dinner here, tax in.
The service is effeciently unpretentious and speaks English most of the time.
Oh yes, they have a varied and exotic wine list: "Imported red, imported white, Zinfandel, at $2.99 a glass if I remember right.
I have returned twice and look forward to future trips.
First revisit I had Plov ("traditional ancient and favourite Uzbek dish made with lamb, rice and carrots." as per menu) This is a very good dish but the sort that I would think that non-Uzbeks would not want too often. Plov here is a a large heaping bowl of very tasty and nice cooked but oily rice with sauteed shredded carrot. It is nicely and gently flavoured with the principal spice being cumin. On top is a piece of lamb, I think from just above the shank. The rice was enough for two or three.
Next time I had the lamb ribs. One reason I asked for the ribs is that I had this dish at Chopan Kebob House (Afghani, Danforth)and every part of the dish, indeed everything that we had there was consistently disgusting. Here the dish was delicious. Lamb ribs by nature are fatty, if you have an aversion ask for the lamb kebob. I have had the chicken and lamb ribs (on charcoal, specify) and both were superb.. I suspect that every kebob here is excellent; nicely marinated and spiced.
The rice was not very oily , and flavoured with a touch of cumin and very good.
Uzbekistan has been open for two months and has redone its menu . Some of the less popular dishes ( turkey liver, heart kebobs are taken off. Chicken (choice of light or dark meat) is on, etc. The industrial Italian salad dressing is gone replaced by a house oil and herb which is quite Ok condiering that we are in central Asia and not in France.
Prices have gone up a bit but are still at a bargain level. So my Plov was $10.99, up from $8.99. By Plov I mean the plate of homemade pickles, naan, salad, pot of tea, and finally the heaping bowl.
The lamb ribs with the same regime of accompanying dishes was $11.99. (Lamb kebob $13.99; chicken $12.99, manti $9.99, soups $4.99)
The best part is that the kebobs, what most people would come here for, are outstanding (and with generous portions.) i am always left with a very pleasant afterglow on the palate.
A glass of exotic wine, which I guess will be generously filled, is $4.99