Showing posts with label Uzbekistan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Uzbekistan. Show all posts

CLOSED: Taste of Uzbekistan (Toronto)

Uzbekistan, a country part of the former Soviet Republic, is no major tourist destination even though it was formerly a stop along the Spice Route. It’s a cuisine that many Torontonians would have never tasted until Djovikhon Buzrukov opened Taj Restaurant in a North York strip mall.

With its success, a second location dubbed Taste of Uzbekistan has now opened in the Yonge Lawrence Village. A larger space, the signage has a palatial quality to it and makes it feel like you’re about to get a taste of royalty.

So, it seemed off brand when a humble plate of babaghanoush ($8.99) was presented with a side of tandoori non in a plastic diner basket. Where the starter lacked in presentation, it’s made up in taste: eggplant grilled lightly and seasoned with lemon juice and oil. So simple, yet when produce is fresh all you should taste is the lovely creamy eggplant.

The bread, made in-house in a clay tandoori oven, could be toasted a bit less as the thinner middle portion became hard and cracker like, while the thicker ring stayed in the softer doughy form. Who knows, maybe this is how it’s meant to be made offering two textures, but it’s the softly toasted part that went so well with the babaghanoush.  

How dishes are presented seems to indicate items are meant to be shared. Each arrives as soon as they’re done, so if guests order their own main, there could be a significant lag until the entire order arrives.

A dish they recommend highly is the plov ($15.99), a traditional Uzbek dish that’s typically prepared on special gatherings. It’s touted on the sign outdoors, on their menu, and even when you ask them for their advice. Certainly, it’s a comforting plate that I could imagine an Uzbekistan family gathering on a weekend to enjoy.

Rice is cooked with onion, carrot, raisins, and cumin so it gets a lovely colour and aroma. Thankfully, the raisins are used sparingly so that it doesn’t sweeten the rice, merely creating moisture in the dish. Chunks of tender lamb are strewn throughout adding an oily richness to everything else. As I tucked into forkfuls of the rice, thoughts of biryani came to mind, but in a mild form. The side of achichuk salad compliments the plov, the fresh tomato and crunchy cucumbers giving the dish a fresh cleansing element.

Conversely, the overdone kazan kebab ($19.99) was forgettable, the lamb lacking moisture or flavour. In fact, the best part of plate was the salty sliced potatoes cooked in a cast iron pan so that it fries at the edges creating a crispy scallop potato like side without the heavy cream, cheese, and butter.

Taste of Uzbekistan’s service isn’t bad, but is a tad off. Before I could even sit down, our waiter asks for a drink order, so I quickly respond water until I have a chance to settle. Yet, you come to realize there’s no beverage menu so wait around until one is produced. 

The only saving grace are the generous wine pours; the glass arrives filled to the brim. And with enough wine, for me, everything gets better.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3249 Yonge Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more -
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this: