Great news for lovers of Uzbek food: Chayhana Salom was knocked down but not out after Hurricane Sandy. The storm hit the Sheepshead Bay restaurant less than a month after its grand opening. But Chayhana Salom quickly bounced back and is now serving excellent salads, noodles, and savory pastries, among other things. PAL observes on Chowhound that the menu ranges well beyond standards like kebabs, including “a bunch of salads with no descriptions of what they contain, which is often a good sign.” There’s the Ali Baba, a combination of pan-fried eggplant, peppers, onion, and herbs that “just screamed out garlicky, acidic, salty, aggressive deliciousness.” Pan-fried lagman (pictured) was a heap of pleasingly chewy house-made noodles tossed with beef and peppers and topped with egg and fresh herbs. Samosa-like samsa were filled with tasty cumin-seasoned lamb. Chayhana Salom, which means “welcoming tea room,” also serves fine green tea in porcelain pots with sugar cubes—”quite posh,” PAL says.
Another storm survivor is Baku Palace, the big Russian-Azerbaijani restaurant and party hall that overlooks the bay. Local hound jen kalb recounts terrific post-hurricane meals there highlighted by lamb rib and sturgeon kebabs, a variety of eggplant dishes, and kutab (stuffed pancakes filled with lamb or greens). “Decent Georgian red wine, very nice tea service, good homemade bread and a friendly welcome made us very happy,” jen writes.
There’s more happy news across the street at Cherry Hill Gourmet, the sprawling Russian grocery, deli, and café in the landmark Lundy’s building. Swamped by Sandy, it recovered swiftly and is well worth a visit.
Elsewhere in the flood zone, Brick Oven Bread in Brighton Beach has also rebounded and is turning out first-rate Georgian-style pkhali (greens with walnut), lobio (stewed kidney beans), and dough pockets filled with cheese and well-seasoned cabbage. Highly recommended, jen says.
Chayhana Salom [Sheepshead Bay]
1652 Sheepshead Bay Road (between Jerome and Voorhies avenues), Brooklyn
Baku Palace [Sheepshead Bay]
2001 Emmons Avenue (at Ocean Avenue), Brooklyn
Cherry Hill Gourmet [Sheepshead Bay]
1901 Emmons Avenue (at Ocean Avenue), Brooklyn
Brick Oven Bread [Brighton Beach]
109 Brighton 11th Street (near Oceanview Avenue), Brooklyn
Photo by PAL