Sparing no indulgence for the sake of the food, even the wood coals used for cooking are imported from Argentina to benefit the flavor of the shish kebabs; a dish Robert Sietsema describes as “superb and way smoky,” in the Village Voice.
Brooklyn, NY (PRWEB) June 19, 2014
The distinctive ethnic eatery in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn, was recently reviewed glowingly by Times food critic Andrew Cotto. Reading his article makes it clear why he calls Nargis an “Uzbek Flower.”
Blue awnings cover the sidewalks in front of Nargis Cafe in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn at the corner of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue Z. The menu of Nargis Cafe blends the culinary traditions of Uzbekistan, Central Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The dishes served are as warmly colorful and inviting as the restaurant’s décor.
According to the Times article, Uzbekistan born and American-trained chef Big B is responsible for selecting all ingredients used in Nargis’ menu. chef Big B focuses on balancing the Central Asian culinary traditions with modernity; he breaks with tradition to offer other worldly dishes, including sea bass and salmon. Sparing no indulgence for the sake of the food, even the wood coals used for cooking are imported from Argentina to benefit the flavor of the shish kebabs; a dish Robert Sietsema describes as “superb and way smoky,” in the Village Voice.
The Times reports that nearly the entire menu, aside from a few desserts delivered by a local bakery, is made in the restaurant. The food preparation begins in the morning, before the restaurant opens at noon. The Nargis Café began as a cozy, small restaurant situated between a flower shop and a dry cleaner. In the beginning, Chef Bangiev was the main force behind the restaurant he started. He now has a complete staff of cooks in his kitchen. Despite the support, the Times says Chef Big B is still an active participant in the day-to-day operations of the Brooklyn-area restaurant.
‘Nargis’ is Uzbek for flower, the Times points out. Like a flower, Nargis Café has grown from its sandwiched location to overtake the businesses on both sides. After closing the restaurant briefly for renovation, it now seats more than a 100 guests with an outdoor tables opened for the summer season. Despite that, the restaurant’s many die-hard devotees still must endure waits to get a fix of that sweet, sweet Central Asian sustenance. Fortunately, Nargis Café takes reservations.
What sort of food is considered Central Asian? What do they traditionally serve in Uzbekistan? The answers are as interesting as they are appetizing. The cuisine featured at Nargis Café includes the aforementioned shish kebabs, and other foods associated with the Middle East and the Mediterranean, such as babaganush and hummus. One dish of particular Central Asian persuasion is the Uzbek Plov, a dish of lamb served atop a bed of rice, carrots and chickpeas. Nargis Café also has a variety of noodle and dumpling dishes, served either steamed or fried. Kim-chee – a traditional Korean dish – is also served as a cold appetizer, and represents the historical connection of Korea and Uzbekistan.
Dessert at Nargis Café includes familiar choices, like “Lava” cake and ice cream, but also offers a selection of Central Asian pastries, like flaky and syrupy baklava, or spartak, which is a layered cake from the region. Also, there’s Chak-Chak; “sweet, crispy, sticky noodles” as Nargis’ online menu describes them.
Among the selections on the wine list favorite Italian and French wines. Recently, as an improvement to the selection of over-21 drinks, the liquor license was expanded to include beer, and they now serve European-style beers such as Stella Artois, Grolsch and Peroni.
The success of Nargis Café has attracted a fair amount of attention to the establishment. The colorful décor, the patterns of the suzani carpets and the tubeteika hats the servers wear make setting foot in the door an immersive Uzbek cultural experience. The restaurant feels like to home to many of the area’s population of Uzbeks and Central Asians. In the Times, a young woman says the busy Sheepshead Bay restaurant feels like family.
In 2013, Nargis’ unique atmosphere was featured in an episode of the FX TV series “The Americans,” a Cold War-era spy drama set in the 1980’s, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, who pose as KGB agents in the American suburbs. The Uzbek vibe of the restaurant plays right into the theme of the show.
Nargis Café recently had another TV appearance. This time on the Cooking Channel show, “The Culinary Adventures of Baron Ambrosia,” a cooking show with a bit of melodrama mixed in. In this episode, the restaurant divulged the recipe to lagman soup, a complex mix of beef and lamb, and just about everything else that belongs in a soup.
ABOUT NARGIS CAFÉ
Founded in 2007 by Uzbekistan born and American trained chef Boris Bangiev, Nargis Café is an Uzbek restaurant serving Central Asian cuisine, mixed with a touch of modernity. This busy and beloved restaurant is located in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn. The restaurant has been featured in print in the New York Times and the Village Voice, and on TV, as an on-location shoot for the FX TV series, “The Americans.” Nargis Café were also featured on the Cooking Channel in an episode of “The Culinary Adventures of Baron Ambrosia.”
2818 Coney Island Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu: 12:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Fri, Sat: 12:00 pm - 12:00 am
Sun: 12:00 pm - 11:00 pm