04/14/17 1:00pm
DESIRED-LAMB-LEG1

Why not have a large-format Dongbei lamb feast for Easter?

The New York Times recently had an article about lamb overtaking ham on the Easter table. Here in Queens I don’t wait until that springtime holiday to eat lamb.  Just in case you don’t yet have Easter plans, please enjoy this selection of Chinese, Indian, and Uzbek lamb delicacies. If I left your favorite out please let me know in the comments.   

1. Roast Lamb Leg, Desired Taste International
There are many, many places in downtown Flushing’s Chinatown to get juicy lamb skewers seasoned with cumin and red pepper, but there’s none quite like Desired Taste International. That’s because it’s star skewer—kao yang tui—is an entire leg of lamb. Salt, cumin, and sesame form a delicious crunchy crust that encases succulent purplish-red flesh. Ask for some cumin and ground red pepper to use as a dip for an extra burst of flavor. Desired Taste International, 35-20 Farrington St., Flushing, 718-888-9622

LAMBCHOP-KQ

2. Lamb Chops, Kurry Qulture
“My lamb chops are getting very famous,” says Kurry Qulture’s Sonny Solomon. “A Greek guy came in and ordered 50 for Easter, he loved it so much.” Marinated in yogurt, black pepper, garam masala, coriander, and cumin the Astoria restaurant’s chops are indeed delicious. Tandoor-cooked, they’re the tenderest, most flavorful Indian lamb in Astoria—and all of Queens. (Photo: @restaurantfairyKurry Qulture, 36-05 30th Avenue, Astoria, 718-674-1212 (more…)

08/05/16 9:16am
lambribpie

Piping hot lamb lies underneath a flaky crust.

Almost every culture has a meat pie be it Cornish pasty, Jamaican beef patty, Tibetan shapaley, or Uzbek samsa. In my stamping grounds of Rego Park, there are many places from bakeries to restaurants to get the piping hot Uzbek meat pies typically filled with beef or my favorite lamb.

Cheburechnaya may be named for the its namesake chebureki, floppy pies filled with meat or veggies, but the real star of the menu’s “dough products” section is the “samcy with ribs” ($2.25). The rib in question is a fatty lamb rib, the bone jutting out of one corner of the flaky triangular patty.

The golden brown samcy comes to the table piping hot, so best to bite a hole in the side and bask in the vapors of lamb fat and spices. Then pour in a bit of the piquant tomato sauce and indulge in the best Uzbek lamb Wellington around.

Cheburechnaya, 92-09 63rd Dr.Rego Park, 718-897-9080

11/03/14 10:51am
MANTY1

The soup dumpling’s Central Asian cousin.

Rugelach and babka are the first things many people think of when they hear the phrase “kosher bakery.” You’d be hard-pressed to find either at Rokhat Kosher Bakery, though. The baked goods—round loaves of lepeshka and flaky onion filled piyozli qatlama—here skew savory, evoking Uzbekistan more than the Lower East Side.

Samsa—meat pies filled with beef or lamb—cooked inside a tandoor are a favorite snack among the Rego Park locals. Recently the bakery added a new item, manty. I discovered the beef dumplings (8 for $10) the other week when I stopped in to thank the owner for letting me take a tour group there.

A gent was tucking into a small plate of four. Thinking that four was too few, I opted for a full order. The operative word being full. The beef and onion stuffed packages resembled gigantic soup dumplings and made for a formidable morning repast. With three pieces of lovely lokum for dessert  I was one happy glutton.

 Rokhat Kosher Bakery, 65-43 Austin Street, Rego Park, 718-897-4493

03/31/14 12:41pm
LAGMAN

Bella Roza’s beefy lagman will do you good.

The combination of the bone chilling dampness and a lingering cold have been conspiring to turn C+M into a soup blog. Last week I found myself at Bella Roza, a Rego Park pizzeria turned samsa and Uzbek bread bakery. “Do you have soup?” I asked the grandmotherly woman behind the counter who looked at me quizzically. “Lagman?” I said reaching into the fevered recesses of my brain to recall that I once heard that they serve the hand-pulled beef noodle soup. “Ah yes,” she said with a glimmer of recognition in her eye. I took a seat and dipped some crusts of bread into Bella Roza’s excellent hot sauce as I waited for my soup.   (more…)

12/10/13 9:53am
UZBEKPLOV

Bella Roza’s plof is real stick to your ribs fare.

Unless you count the crusty caramelized part, which adheres to the bottom of cooking vessel and is prized by Puerto Ricans and Koreans alike, plain white rice holds little appeal. Chinese takeout fried rice is much tastier. It’s been years—OK maybe six months—since I’ve eaten it. That’s because in Queens there so many other rice dishes from all over the world from biryani to bibimbap. Today, a look at two less common ones. (more…)

08/15/13 9:54am
Mohammed Malik traveled to Jackson Heights to feast on Pakistani offal for his 25th birthday.

Mohammed traveled to Queens to feast on Pakistani offal for his 25th birthday.

Hey Joe I saw you on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern eating that Pakistani dish. My parents are from Pakistan and I haven’t had the opportunity to try tawa kata-kat. I can’t find the name of the restaurant so I can go there. Can you please provide me the name and address? I will be visiting New York this coming Saturday for my 25th birthday. Thanks.
Mohammed Malik, St. Louis, Mo.

Young man, enthusiastic offal eaters like you are the future of our nation. Tawa kata-kat, the fry up of goat brains, kidneys, and heart seasoned with ginger and chili can be had at Kababish, 70-64 Broadway, Jackson Heights, (718) 565-5131. (more…)

08/12/13 10:05am
Photo: Dave Cook/Eating in Translation

Photo: Dave Cook/Eating in Translation

From the way I hate on Brooklyn you’d think the only reason I went there was to eat weird ice cream and bitch about Ramen Burger lines. The truth about the County of Kings though is that there’s all sorts of foods available there that just can’t be found in Queens, from the Sicilian specialties at Joe’s of Avenue U in Gravesend to the Kyrgyz cuisine at Café Avat in Bath Beach. Savvy readers will note that both of these neighborhoods are blissfully free of hipsters and the food trends they slavishly worship.

My home turf of Rego Park has plenty of Uzbek kebab houses, but the cuisine of Kyrgyzstan is woefully under-represented. So when Dave Cook of Eating in Translation asked me to join a crew of like-minded eaters for dinner at Café Avat just down the street from the fourth to last stop on the D train I immediately said yes. (more…)

05/01/13 12:21pm
Meat maven Josh Ozersky and pitmaster Robbie Richter parade a barbecued ewe.

Meat maven Josh Ozersky and pitmaster Robbie Richter parade a barbecued ewe.

I’ve just about recovered from what I’ve taken to calling ‘Mini-Meatopia.’ For that’s exactly what Monday’s pop-up at Alchemy, Texas BBQ was. Meat maven Josh Ozersky and pitmaster Robbie Richter teamed up on a menu that included everything from short rib to a grass-fed Vermont ewe, all cooked in Alchemy’s gigantic smoker. It was the first of hopefully many pop-ups. It was a very special night for barbecue and Jackson Heights with a globe-trotting menu that spanned from Jamaica to Uzbekistan.

First up: bulgogi tacos,with gojuchang aioli.

First up: bulgogi tacos,with gojuchang aioli.

For the past few years Richter has been moving away from American barbecue and experimenting with Asian flavors, notably at Fatty Cue and the upcoming project Roadhouse L.A. with the Umami Burger crew. So it’s not surprising that the evening’s meaty offerings started with bulgogi short rib tacos. They were served with kimchi, and a zippy aioli made from the Korean fermented bean and chili paste, gochujang. My one complaint was the flour tortillas. That did not stop me from eating two tacos, though. (more…)

03/18/13 10:30am
Sweetbreads and lamb both excellent.

Arzu’s lamb ribs and sweetbreads are both excellent.

There are more than a half dozen Uzbek kebab houses within walking distance of C+M’s Rego Park headquarters. All of these kosher spots serve various meats—lamb, beef, chicken, and odd bits like lamb fat—grilled on flat, swordlike skewers. I am not sure what serving meat on swords says about this culture, but I do know that it is darn tasty.

One of the best of these often social club like eateries is Café Arzu. It’s practically a samsa’s throw away from my apartment. A shish-kebab of lamb ribs—really riblets—runs $4.25. Sprinkle on a bit of vinegar and some ground hot pepper and set to gnawing away. That vinegar and the raw onion serve to cut the lamb’s rich fat. Veal khorovak ($5), is one of the cheapest and tastiest preparations of sweetbreads I’ve ever come across. At times Arzu has a heavy social club vibe. Blend in BYOing a bottle of vodka and drinking a pot of green tea. Or just set to ordering and eating meat with utter abandon.

Café Arzu, 101-05 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, 718-830-3335