Welcome back to another installment of Ethnic Eating Adventures, in which we travel far and wide to discover the hidden culinary delights of New York City. Inspired by the warm weather, today we're traveling to Brighton Beach to sample some Uighur food at Cafe Kashkar.
Cafe Kashkar is one of the few restaurants in New York serving Uighur (or Uyghur) food, hailing from the Northwest Chinese province of Xinjiang, which is predominantly Muslim. Uighur food is characterized by lots of lamb, heavy, doughy breads, and plenty of strong, pungent spices. Cafe Kashkar isn't much of a looker from the outside, but don't let the tacky neon signs discourage you. Step inside and get your bready, meaty reward.
Start with a plateful of manti, oversized dumplings-on-steroids filled with minced lamb and sweet onions. The manti are thin-skinned and steamed, but should you prefer a heartier dumpling, go for the samsa, hefty triangular dumplings with a similar filling, but with a flaky, baked dough crust. Then continue your carboloading with an order of stir-fried lagman, thick Chinese-style pulled noodles that arrive in a cumin-laced sauce with peppers, onions, star anise, hunks of lamb and bits of fried egg. And just to round out that entire meal, grab a few of the restaurant's kebabs, laced onto oversized silver swords—the ground beef patties and fatty lamb ribs are both keepers.
And since Cafe Kashkar is BYO, pick up some vodka and black currant juice at the Russian grocery down the street, and then take your tipsy post-foodbomb self down the beach for a stroll.
1141 Brighton Beach Avenue, Brooklyn; (718) 743-3832