underground gourmet

Where to Slurp Shurpa at 1 A.M.

Plus dumplings and kebabs in Brooklyn’s Little Uzbekistan.

Photo: Hugo Yu
Photo: Hugo Yu

A late-night scene has emerged in Midwood, scattered between Kensington’s Little Pakistan and Little Odessa in Brighton Beach. The hours are in part designed to accommodate the area’s many Uber drivers; it helps that much of Uzbekistan’s food — dumplings, rice, noodles, plenty of meat — is the kind of straightforward, hearty cooking that tastes great around midnight. At the months-old Chayhana on Kings Highway, owner Kamol Raupov’s recipes come from his family, which has been in the food business for generations: bowls of chewy lagman noodles, platters of grilled beef and lamb served over fresh-cut French fries, crusty rounds of the flatbread obi non, an assortment of kebabs that customers can pick from a brightly lit display up front. Get the lamb ribs, which are sprinkled with whole cumin seeds before they hit the grill. Dastarxan Kafe is another 24-hour spot that opened last year. The shurpa — clear broth with a large cube or two of slow-cooked beef, plus potato, turnip, carrot, and a handful of chickpeas — is a bit like French pot-au-feu, while the manti are a thin-skinned, oversize version of the famous dumplings filled with lamb-and-onion mince and dolloped with yogurt. The storefront was crowded with groups — all men, for the record — every time I stopped by. That wasn’t the case at Urgut Osh Markazi, where my server told me that delivery orders make up the bulk of their late-night business. That’s surprising, since a $14 bowl of its warm, rib-sticking pilmeni soup seems perfectly suited to the people leaving the sports bars across the street.

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Where to Slurp Shurpa at 1 A.M.