Silk Road Adventure
Craig LaBan journeys to Bustleton Avenue in the Northeast for Uzbeki food at Uzbekistan.
The bread alone is worth a visit. This flying-saucer-shaped round with a seed-speckled indentation in the middle reminds me of a giant bialy, and is simply addictive when it arrives hot and crisp-bottomed from the tandoor oven.
Mention of an Indian tandoor may seem odd, but it’s a reminder that Uzbekistan occupies an exotic corner of the former Soviet Union, more Central Asia than Eastern Europe. Its perch on the Silk Road, touching the northwest corner of Afghanistan, explains the appearance of lagman, the hand-rolled noodles with roots in China that anchor bowls of lamb-scented soup, as well as plates topped with a soulful kavurma sauce of braised lamb and tomatoes. There are nods to Uzbekistan’s large Korean community, with dishes like “fimchusa” glass noodles tossed with spicy ground meat. And there is a deeply flavored veal-and-beet borscht, as well as handmade vareniki dumplings, to please the local Ukrainian clientele.
Two Bells – Very Good