Cafe Lily: Uzbeki-Korean Crossover

Report by Special Correspondent AD Craig (who was not able to attend the White House Correspondents Association dinner due to assignment in Brooklyn):

We all went there today, Saturday, for a late lunch–Emilie, me, our son Sacha, his wife Kate and their 9-month old son Xavier.

Out on the street, the ambiance is pure immigrant Queens–Uzbeks, Russians, Koreans, Chinese.

Inside, the ambiance is pleasantly Soviet–heavy burgundy drapes, with red table-cloths showing under the plastic covers. The lingua franca between the staff–Korean, Uzbek, Russian–is Russian.

The restaurant is a BYO (bring-your-own). The table opposite us–two Uzbeks talking quietly to each other in Russian–were drinking what looked to me like Hungarian “Bulls Blood”, a Soviet red wine favorite from the 1990s.

Disco music was playing softly in the background. This prompted our young disco star, Xavier, to jive in his high-chair for most of the lunch. The Russian & Korean waitresses regularly stopped by to give him a loving smooch.

Our Uzbek waiter was very helpful. He understood that we were looking for a good balance between the Korean, Uzbek & Russian components of the menu. He encouraged us to try Korean salads, Russian soups & pelmeni, and Uzbek shisk-kebabs of various kinds. We readily agreed.

We also added Korean blood sausage–something I had enjoyed in street markets in Seoul–and pan-fried liver.

Our family group was very happy with the results. They were a little surprised that I was mildly critical of some things. For example, all the salads had a kimchi taste. I love kimchi, but Korean salads are very varied with many different, subtle flavors–so I would have liked to see more of that in the menu.

The soup received universal praise from our gang. This is the same soup that the NYTimes reviewer describes in their review. The generous pelmeni with sour cream also went down well.

Surprise, surprise, there was a misunderstanding about our order, so the kebabs didn’t show up. No problem, since we were pooped with the salads, soup, pelmeni, blood sausage & liver. We promised ourselves we’ll try the kebabs next time..!!

Voilà for our family restaurant review of Café Lily, Bensonhurst, NY

The original review:

You can find more of ADavid Craig’s musings in iTunes under:
Footloose by The Grinch

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