1141 Brighton Beach Ave.
Review by guest eater Ja
Take the B or Q train down to Brighton Beach and then walk a few blocks and you will see this restaurant. It is definitely a gem in the midst of Central Asian/Russian community of Brighton Beach. It has bright colors and neon lights and inside the decoration is somewhat old fashioned with TV playing Uyghur or Central Asian music videos. Around the restaurant you can see decorations and items that represent the Uyghur culture. Usually there are a lot of people from the community that just hang out there or sit there. Look out for my friend Shu Roh- he is one of the waiters who is Uyghur by ethnicity.
Samsa (pronounced Sam-Sa).
It is a type of Uyghur pastry that is shaped in a triangle. The inside contains minced lamb meat that is seasoned with pepper, oil and onions. The key to the tasty Samsa is that the lamb meat has to contain some kind of little fat chunks so when you bake the Samsa- the fat oozes oil and makes the inside taste even better. The outside is a slightly thick layer of bread that is soft when crushed in your mouth. Overall, this is definitely something you have to order when you get to this restaurant. The size of the Samsa is the size of your hand- a great appetizer to start off with. A good suggestion is that if you like the Samsa a lot, buy some home and freeze it. They are not expensive at all (around 2.5 or 3 dollars). Re-ovened Samsas are very tasty too.
Geiro Lagman. (pronounced Gee-Ro Lag-Man)
Lagman is actually the Uyghur for the Chinese expression of noodles (La-mien) and Japanese expression of noodles (Ra-men). There is the soupy Lagman and the non-soupy Lagman- so be careful when you order. The Geiro Lagman is the NON-soup Lagman that Uyghurs love (even though they also love soupy lagman- this one is definitely more common and popular). The Lagman is basically hand-made noodles in special tomato based lamb sauce. This tomato based lamb sauce is consisted of the lamb chunks, celery, red/green peppers, tomatoes, onions, scallions and other spices and veggies.
The restaurant usually pronounces it the last 2 names, but in Uyghur culture, it should be called the Pola. If you have ever ate Afghani food, then it is very similar to one of their rice dishes. This is one of my favorite dishes. Usually you eat this at Uyghur weddings- so it is definitely a royal dish! The dish is basically rice that is cooked in a lot of oil (hence the yummy flavor) and is cooked along with carrots, radish, raisons- not only that, you also have big chunks of lamb meat (the pola lamb meat is SOOO good) along with the rice dish…very very flavorful.
You cannot come to this restaurant or any Central Asian or Uyghur restaurant without ordering some lamb kebab. Sorry for those who are vegetarians- I don’t think Uyghur culture believes in vegetarianism. Uyghurs don’t call the meat kebab but call them “kewap”. There are many types of kebabs- but by immersing yourself in the culture- you should definitely order lamb. Uyghurs love lamb. There are lamb kebab and also lamb ribs…which is also very yummy. They basically charcoal the kebab with seasoning and then they bring it out with freshly cut onions and some spicy sauce that you can dip it in. So yummyyyy.
Desert- I don’t remember the name of this…
So, this restaurant does not have the usual Uyghur desert. Uyghurs usually eat ice cream, sarang dough (a sweet yogart drink with ice chunks), or kawass (fermented apricot juice) or delicious fresh fruit (water melon, sweet melon, peaches, grapes) for desert. This item that the restaurant have kind of tastes like Sha-Chi-Ma (which is a type of Chinese desert which you fry dough and pour honey and sugar on it). Its good- if you want to end your meal with something sweet- but definitely not necessary.
Happy eaters J