It’s hard to resist the Vodka Roulette at this Russian-Uzbeki restaurant: ten blind shots, randomly culled from house-infused vodkas. (We’re hooked on the horseradish variety.) But share with friends—otherwise you might have to bail on chef/owner Bakhitiyor Rakhmatulleav’s robustly satisfying cooking. Among the many savory meat-in-dough starters—including good versions of bun-like pirozhki and fried half-moon chebureki—the flaky samsa with spiced lamb is the clear favorite (the restaurant has been known to run out). Uzbeki dishes tend to outshine the Russian offerings, which means that among the bigger plates, you’ll want to focus on manti, pillows of thin dough filled with minced lamb and drizzled with yogurt, or plov,a long-cooked rice dish studded with tender lamb, raisins, and carrots. For those inspired to DIY, the market next door carries many of the fixings for the food—and for infusing vodka.
Don’t miss: Lamb-and-chickpea soup; smoked-fish plate; blini with beef; “Fish Under a Coat” (herring with beets, potatoes, eggs, and mayonnaise); chicken Kiev; lamb shank with roasted potatoes.