Deep in the heart of Sheepshead Bay, there lies a new outpost for cheap, well-executed takes on classic stick-to-your-ribs central Asian comfort food.
'Uzbek' on Serious Eats
It looks a little like chow mein, but lagman, the handmade noodles native to the Uyghur people of western China and central Asia, are a different thing altogether.
Cafe At Your Mother-In-Law, aka Elza Fancy Food, offers authentic Koryo Saram cuisine, the food of ethnically Korean Uzbekistani immigrants.
Unless you live in Central Asia, you're unlikely to hear the phrase, "I'm going to get some Uzbek food tonight." And yet that's exactly what I told my friends a few nights ago, and that's how I found myself in Rego Park at Cheburechnaya, on a stretch of road that includes Chinese markets and Kosher Middle Eastern restaurants.
Our planet is a very big place. A prosaic observation only until you look at a map and contemplate the movement of people across vast areas before Wi-Fi-friendly flights and noise-cancelling headphones. This restaurant lets you sample some of that history, taking you from Neptune Avenue to the Silk Road. 1001 Nights is best for: a date who's a citizen of the world, whose broad interests are matched by a big appetite.
[Photograph: Max Falkowitz] There are as many recipes for plov, the Uzbek version of rice pilaf, as there are cooks who make it. Choices of meats, vegetables, and spices are up for debate, but all plovs start with more liquid...