As unlikely as it sounds, I’ve now been to three different Uzbek restaurants here in NYC. Many years ago I visited Cheburechnaya in Rego Park, and this past summer I went to Uma’s in the Rockaways. Now I can add Nargis Cafe, in Gravesend, to that list.
I started with a plate of assorted pickles, like I almost always do, as well as a pumpkin-filled pastry known as samsa. The delicate pastry dough envelopes a sweet and savory pumpkin mixture, heavily spiced and seasoned. Pumpkin in this case is not the sweet jack-o-lantern type, but a slightly less sweet (though still orange-colored) gourd.
The photo at the top of the page is potato chuchvara, a rolled dumpling typical of Central Asian cuisine. At Nargis they are available either steamed & sauteed or crispy deep-fried. I got the deep fried ones, though in retrospect I should have gotten the steamed ones. The dumpling skins were a little too thick to be enjoyed fried like these were, though the smooth potato filling was a nice contrast to it. Either way you get them I highly recommend dipping them into the provided sour cream for yet another contrast.
There are a surprising amount of vegetarian options on the menu at Nargis Cafe, so I think a return trip may be warranted.
Nargis Cafe — 2818 Coney Island Ave