Salute turns out some of the best Russian and Central Asian specialties in New York. Begin with a large pot of tea, and some delightful salads, especially the cucumber and tomatoes with dill, the Korean carrot salad, and assorted pickled vegetables. You might opt for Lagman, the classic Central Asian soup of hand-pulled noodles, lamb and vegetables, or a bowl of Shurpa, with a broth of lamb and beef.
But the real excitement comes with the appetizers, huge platters of Crimean Cheburekes, Uzbek Mantu, and Samsa. How to choose between these meat-filled pastries, marvelous stuffed dumplings, and piroshki-like pastries? You don't; simply order as many as you can eat of each as they are priced individually. The Cheburekes have that redolent deep-fried aroma, whereas the mantu here will remind you of the finest Sichuan dumpling (minus the fire).
Then begins the excitement of the Bukharan kebabs, of which there are more than 15 kinds. Particularly delicious are the lamb ribs kebab, with chewy and tangy meat; the beef kebab, terrific small chunks full of flavor; the chicken kebab with bones, incredibly fresh and tasty morsels; and the zhasb kebab, small pieces of lamb fat that transport you back to Central Asia and Mongolia. Do not omit the lamb fat, for even as squeamish as you might be about consuming anything with fat, for these mini morsels are packed full of extraordinary flavor. Our favorite remains the lula kebab, superb ground lamb perfectly spiced.
Large rounds of Uzbek bread known as lepeshka and called simply nan by the Uighurs in East Turkistan as well as the familiar rice pilaf called plov accompany your meal. But you might also choose terrific fries with garlic and greens. Several noisy televisions and mirrored walls make the atmosphere even more authentic. Salute has a number of competitors along 108th Street as well as a healthy infusion of markets offering plentiful Russian and Central Asian products.
There are no events taking place on this date.