Review - Taam Tov (41 W. 47th, 212-768-8001)
We'd heard about this place here, and on Peter Cherches site, and decided to pop in after a morning spent in the diamond district. The venue is somewhat hidden, two flights up a narrow staircase, on the north side of the street. There is a steady stream of deliverymen going in and out of the place, catering to the lunchtime needs of the local Kosher customer base, and probably beyond to those who enjoy central Asian fare.
After tromping up the stairs, we were seated quickly in the surprisingly busy dining room. The menus are under the glass tabletops and we quickly had the kitchen working on a half order of lepeshka bread ($1) and samsa meat pies ($2) to go with a couple of sodas ($1.25 each). The bread was freshly baked and quite dense, but tasty. The meat pastry was pretty good, chock full of beef and onions, but the crust was crusty/hard.
While we finished that our main courses came out. We had the Uzbek pilaf ($6) which was full of lamb and slivered sauteed carrots. Although greasy, it was a winner. It was somewhat similar to a heavy Indian biriyani, absent the cardamon flavors. Then we had a lamb kabob and a ground beef/lamb kabob called a lula ($3 each). Both were tasty, and nicely charred on the outside. They are strongly flavored so if you don't like that, be careful in ordering them. I actually liked the ground beef kabob better. Along with that we had a side of French fries ($4) which were blond and underdone. Maybe the oil was too cold, or was getting oxidised, but they were underwhelming, and left unfinished. It's pretty rare for me to not eat every fry within grabbing distance!
The service is warm, pleasant, and efficient. Taam Tov is not fancy, but just solid ethnic diner that gets by on word of mouth, plus a little kicker for the cool, hidden location. You could walk by here every day and not realize there was an eatery upstairs if you didn't keep your eyes open. Although it was not open while we were there, it appears that during warm weather you can eat on a ledge/patio overlooking the street, which might be worth the wait to specifically get a table there, and watch the jewelry street scene.
Lunch for two, all in, was $30 -- you can't do much better in that neighborhood for a proper sit down meal.
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