Russian food meets Middle Eastern in Rego Park's Uzbeki kosher house of cuisine, Cheburechnaya, which boasts 23 varieties of kebabs, among them lamb testicles, quail, and lamb fat. For the slightly less adventurous, lamb chops, hearts, and ribs are available along with grilled chicken, veal, beef, and grilled tomatoes or onions. Vegetarians fear not, fresh salads, assorted plates of pickled vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, sour cabbage, and mushrooms) and heaping plates of garlic-y humus and babaganoush are a-plenty. Steaming hot and crustry bread comes straight from the brick oven in seemingly endless flow while the parabolic disk-shaped noni toki bread--almost like a thick wafer--asks to be dipped in the table's sauces.
Chebureki, half-moon shaped flaky pastries stuffed with vegetables and a choice of meat, mushrooms, potatoes, or cabbage are warming, savory appetizers for the table, and though kebabs reign and the specialty of the house, pilaff (chock full of onions, peppers, garlic, and savory chunks of lamb), and a selection of fish off-set the meat-heavy focus. Cheburechnaya is BYOB, and has the relaxed atmosphere of a cafeteria, sometimes with irritatingly inattentive service, but also appropriate for large, lingering, meat-hearty parties. For dessert, we ordered the Uzbeki specialty "chak chak," like a giant, dense rice-krispy treat stuck together with honey and made of large strips of fried dough.
For those in search of a savory meat-filled meal, easy on the wallet and big on flavor, head to Cheburechnaya and nosh on a lamb heart or two.
Cheburechnaya is located at 92-09 63rd Drive, Rego Park, Queens. (718) 897.9080.