Twenty years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, eighteen years after the dismantling of the Soviet Union, Arlington finally gets its first Central Asian restaurant, and what a winner it is.
Cafe Assorti is a Kazakh cafe/bakery/cafeteria/restaurant that has the feel of a modern restaurant in a foreign land. From the decor, service, food, to the mixed use space, it resolutely charts a different path than a typical American restaurant. I imagine this place would look or feel no different than a new enterprise in Almaty.
This is a great place to take kids, which I did. By day, you can go up to the counter and choose your food: one section for sweets, the other for savories. At night. waiter service is in effect. Still, service is fast and prices are low. What's more, there are many selections of 'stuffed bread' meals which are well-made and tasty. The spicing is fairly plain and subtle, but really set apart from anything else I've had in the area.
I tried the assorti pie, a Challah stuffed with meat, tomato, egg, and cheese. Wonderful bread, unique yet mild filling. Also tried the manti, enormous meat dumplings with a nice fragrant spicing. I like the pink sauce for the dumplings instead of the red, less acidic. The carrot salad is delicious and zippy, enough for four to share. The beet salad is equally large, but the walnut oil drowns out the flavor of the beets. Good but no better.
The place opens up for breakfast at 8am and stays open all day. Across from Guajillo, Pho 75 and the old Rays the Steaks. I am told they have their own parking, but I have no idea how to access it. I look forward to trying more of the menu.