Sun-Thu, 10am-11pm; Fri, 10am-6pm; Sat, 4pm-10pm
M, R at 63rd Dr.-Rego Park
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Linden Blvd. to Grand Central Pkwy., Van Wyck Expy. to Vernon Blvd.
This one-off spot draws Soviet expats and motivated chowhounds seeking outer-borough exotica. Post-Shabbat on Saturday nights, Cheburechnaya’s cafeteria-like room percolates with groups of guys in open-necked shirts, gal-pals gossiping in Russian, multigenerational Uzbeki clans complete with racing preschoolers, and a hipster or two on a mission. Like its patient, English-competent waitresses, Cheburechnaya’s vast appetizer-strong, photo-laden menu aims to please. The kosher chow, served per piece, is priced remarkably low, so diners can assemble meze-style meals for relatively few rubles. There’s Ukranian comfort food like borscht, stuffed cabbage, and piroshki dumplings called manty, along with a smattering of Middle Eastern familiars, like hummus (decent) and baklava (dry). But Cheburechnaya’s menu extols the rugged, meaty Bukharan fare of Tashkent and Samarkand, in Uzbekistan, where windswept steppes meet Marco Polo’s spice route. The house specialty is chebureki, empanada-like fried tarts stuffed with the likes of fennel-sparked cabbage or rich, gamy mutton. Shish kebabs of ground or sliced mutton or beef and various organs (don’t think too much about which) are deftly flamed on swashbuckling skewers. Cheburechnaya may extend familiar comfort to Uzbek diners, but for born-here, done-that New Yorkers, it’s a MetroCard adventure down the Great Silk Road.BYOB
No wine’s on offer here, as it’s not part of the Uzbek cuisine, but the restaurant opens kosher wines for only a minimal per-bottle charge.Recommended Dishes
Cabbage chebureki, $1.99; goshtgizhda, $1.99; lulya kebab, $2.50; dolma, $8