In a neighborhood that seems to have a Central Asian kebab house on every block Rokhat Kosher Bakery is one of the more unique establishments. While other purveyors of samsa, Uzbek meat pies, hide their igloo-shaped tandoors in the kitchen, Rokhat’s sits proudly in the window. In fact there are two ovens in two storefronts.
The newer satellite location functions as a makeshift restaurant. It serves up an excellent version of plov ($7), Uzbekistan’s hearty one-pot rice dish. A few chunks of boneless beef shank sit atop rice that’s fragrant with sweet carrot, cumin, and coriander. Black pepper and chili and lend just a touch of heat. The rice has a wonderful chewy texture and flavor from absorbing the flavors of the meat, along with sautéed onions, and flax seed oil.
The best time to eat plov at Rokhat is Sunday afternoon at around noon. There’s an energy in the air as the place swings back into action after being closed for a night and a day. Uzbeki men mill about eating beef and lamb samsa ($2.50) at the few tables or buying them by half dozen to go. Grab your plov and dig in while listening to the strains of Central Asian folk music in the background. For full cultural immersion bring a friend and split a pot of green tea. Pretend you’re on the Silk Road instead of just off 65th Road.
Rokhat Kosher Bakery, 65-43 Austin Street, Rego Park, 718-897-4493