If you live in New York City, you can find an enormous array of food cooked by representatives of (and visitors to) countries from around the world. And for those of us who like to explore, there are varieties upon "national" cuisines: not just Thai, but northern Thai; not just Chinese, but northwestern Chinese.
Brooklyn is the heart of "Russian" New York, though that's a misleading shorthand. A significant population of "Russian" Brighton Beach is Ukrainian, while other Former Soviet Union populations about: Georgian, Tajik, Uzbek.
And while there are several places to get hearty, flavorful Uzbek food, I have visited all three of one of the more unusual hybrid restaurants, which serve Korean-Uzbek food. That reflects, as food writer Dave Cook explains, "the culinary history of ethnic Koreans who were forcibly relocated during the Stalin era from the Soviet Far East to Central Asia."
That unfortunate history is reflected more benignly today in menus that serve spicy Korean salads like kimchi (spelled differently in the menu below), along with more traditional Uzbek fare like kebabs and pilaf (aka plov).
Where do you get all this? Well, Elza Fancy Food is in Brighton Beach, while a tiny spinoff is in Bensonhurst. The newer Cafe Lily (menu below) is in Bensonhurst too. (I got a kick out of the fact that, during a recent Bensonhurst walking tour, a native of the neighborhood told me he was unfamiliar with the restaurants.)
There's not much ambiance (though diners seemed happy), and we could BYOB. We got a huge amount of food for a relatively small amount of money, and leftovers for the next day.
And, yes, a small group on a private tour of Bensonhurst or Coney Island/Brighton Beach can visit these places with me (or afterward). Heck, if you'd really like to visit after a different tour, I can just point you in the right direction.
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Touring Brooklyn Blog
Observations and ephemera related to my tours and Brooklyn. Comments and questions are welcome--and moderated.