Friday, February 09, 2007

Brooklyn Bukharian

In prior posts I wrote about Taam Tov, a diamond district kosher Uzbek (or Bukharian) restaurant, as well as Cafe Kashkar, the Brighton Beach Uighur restaurant whose cuisine has many similarities with Uzbek. I still haven't been to any of the restaurants in Rego Park, home of the area's largest Bukharian Jewish émigré community, but I'm happy to announce that I now know of an excellent place much closer to home.

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 and was familiar with this cuisine before any of it was available in New York. Vostok, Igor tells me, is Russian for "east." I believe Uzbek restaurants, like Georgian ones, are popular with New York Russians who are not necessarily from those areas since these were were common and popular "ethnic" cuisines in the old country.
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.

Vostok is a fairly simple, no-frills place, but like many of Brooklyn's Russian restaurants it has a stage for live music and a dance floor. Toward the end of our weeknight dinner a Russian lounge singer/keyboardist had replaced the recorded Uzbek music. I assume there's a full band on weekends.

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.

Vostok on Urbanspoon


Blogger -me said...

that sabzi polow, dosent even look like something id feed my dog. if i put that in front of my husband he'd think i was joking. i can talk trash cause thats my peeps!

i keeps it real. BUXORI REAL!


2:28 PM  
Blogger Salomon said...

Restaurant Vostok is probably the best Bukharian Restaurant in Brooklyn and beats many of the ones in queens. I'm not so thrilled about their band,even thought the music is pretty good.. but the food rocksssss! HOT WAITRESSES!

2:16 PM  

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