Food for Thought: Uzbekistan

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By Donna Ward

Travel around the world in your own neighborhood! Uzbekistan is a lively Russian restaurant located at 12012 Bustleton Ave. in Somerton and opened directly across from the old Uzbekistan about a year ago. Uzbekistan is named after a province of the former Soviet Union.

For a stylish, upscale evening out where the food seems endless and the dinner more of a party, Uzbekistan is a wonderful restaurant with delicious food and a vibrant atmosphere. From the moment you pull into the parking lot, which provides ample spaces for the usually crowded venue, you feel as though you have stepped into another world.

The dominantly Russian crowd that ornaments the tables of Uzbekistan is friendly and vivacious. For those not familiar with the Russian language, it can seem a bit intimidating, but the servers are very quick to help ease any apprehensions patrons might have. The décor was elaborate and well strewn about the eloquent eatery. The restaurant is divided into little alcoves partitioned by stucco arches to give each party an intimate dining experience.

The menu has a fair translation of the various flavored dishes served, and the wait staff is very pleasant in helping you make your selections. The service was very accommodating, and the staff was attentive throughout the evening.

You can have a full course meal of choice al a Carte, but be prepared to eat, because Uzbekistan gives large portions of quality seasoned variations. The restaurant can run a little pricy depending on the dishes you choose, but the quality of food makes the cost well worth your trip.

My first dish ordered, with the help of a lovely waitress, was a fresh-tossed vegetable salad and lepyoshka bread, which is traditional Uzbek bread that is flat and round with sesame seeds on the top for an enchanting flavor. I would venture back for the bread alone. The soup that was brought out next was Kartoshka, containing sliced potatoes, herbs and dill. The flavors used complemented one another so well that you would almost want to make this your main course. Be careful with this soup, as it is very filling. You don’t want to miss the entrée.

As lamb is one of my favorite dishes, I order the lamb kabobs, which were out of this world. The seasonings and spices that flavored this warm dish were done to perfection. The lamb was tender and you almost need not chew the meat. For those less found of lamb, there are also chicken kabobs available and even vegetarian dishes as well.

Another interesting item I had the pleasure of sampling was the Lula kabob. The Lula kabob is a medley of ground lamb and beef that is sizzled to perfection over a charred grill and served warm. Piles of rice are also served with the kabobs, and while the rice is tasty, it suffers in comparison next to the flavors of the kabobs. I finished my meal with warm tea, which was a nice comfort after the amount of food I had consumed.

My experience at Uzbekistan was not only delectable, but also entertaining, as the ongoing parties continue well into the night. Uzbekistan offers eloquent dining that is not rushed, but slow-paced and relaxed. The quality and quantity of the food make the prices well worthwhile. I look forward to returning to this upscale restaurant for their wonderful, scrumptious food and energized crowd.

Food For Thought is a NEast restaurant review column written by Donna Ward that runs every other Thursday.

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