Lest you be curious as to what type of cuisine this restaurant on the corner of Sunset and La Brea serves...it's Uzbekistahni. Four of us ended up there for dinner on Saturday night without a reservation. Except for me...I definitely had some reservations not ever having tried that particular type of food. The place was set up with several long family-dinig style tables full of people who I'm guessing are are native Uzbekistahnis. We were worried that maybe we were walking in on an engagement or wedding party, but that didn't seem to be the case because the host seated us immediatley.
All the mixed drinks are vodka-based and my cranberry juice and vodka was strong like I like it. They bring you a large, ring-shaped loaf of bread with a bagel-like exterior and a chewy interior to start. It comes with a ramekin full of herbed cream cheese in the middle. Tasty.
We started out sharing a bunch of appetizers: some sort of mayonnaise-based potato salad (that tasted about like it sounds); fried lamb-filled dumplings with a thin, dill-flavored tomato dipping sauce (probably my favorite of the apps); another type of larger dumpling that I think was filled with beef (ummm...I can't even be sure that this was beef, but it was oddly chewy and gelatinous. no love of this one on my part); and a smoked salmon platter with blini and caviar (this was good. the salmon was a tad fishier than I'm used to, but the caviar was nice and salty. i'm a caviar neophyte, but I can't imagine this was of very high quality because of both the low price and because it was basically identical to the orange roe we used to bait fishing hooks as kids).
On to the main courses...I was basically stuffed at this point since I'd eaten some huge pieces of the giant bagel so i just shared with my boyfriend. We ordered the fried trout with a mushroom cream sauce. This rocked. It was served some bulgar, a boiled potato and a few broccoli spears. And a some garnishes, but I'll get to that later. The fish was still crispy and the creamy sauce complimented it to make a delicious, albeit heavy mouthful. Our table also got some handmade noodles with lamb pieces that was granished with fried egg (I'd order it again) and we also got something that we all called "the pod" which I think was ground beef shaped around some spinach and other finally chopped vegetables into a football shape and then deep fried. Good. Also had some excellent absorptive properties that allowed me to consume large amounts of alcohol as the night progressed.
As an aside, or maybe as a huge selling point if you're like me, this place had potentially the most outstanding garnishes I've ever seen. They quite easily rivaled some of the stuff on those 1970's weight watchers recipe cards: lemons fashioned into tiny birds, lettuce arranged to form patterns on the plate, a hollowed out half onion filled with canned peas. I would consider going again to order entirely different dishes just for this fact alone.
I think the damage came out to something like $35 a person.