Meat and Pickle-Flecked Potato Salad & other Bukharian Concoctions at Shish Kabab Palace
Neither the name nor the look of the storefront of Shish Kabob Palace is particularly enticing. This restaurant, located in a strip mall, certainly does not conjure up the image of a “palace”. You can’t judge a palace by its cover I guess; the sizable menu did a way better job at reeling me in than the meat stick decal on the door.
This palace serves Bukharian and Russian food. Bukharia is a region of Uzbekistan. From my other dining experiences with the cuisine of Russian/former USSR countries I knew this meant I could expect funky cold salads, dumplings in various forms, soups, and skewered meats.
Some warm traditional bread and “fried” eggplant ($6) off the salads menu came out first. The eggplant came out cold and was more marinated and roasted than fried. That being said, it was spicy and flavorful like a caponata and perfect for spreading on the bread.
The “olivie” salad ($5) was too weird not to order. Its a russian style potato salad with carrots (not what we are used to, but great for texture), pickles (totally odd but works so well), and tiny pieces of meat (more people should add meat to their potato salad!).
One salad I decided to pass on had an awesome name worth mentioning; the “blabber mouth”, made of beef tongue, of course, and tomatoes.
From the soup section we had a light borsch with hearty hunks of meat and chuchvara, a satisfying lamb broth soup with meat dumplings.
A side order of salty homemade fried potatoes with mushrooms ($10) was a bit oily but that didn’t stop me from eating way too much of it.
A green rice dish called “bahsh” may have been my favorite of the day ($8). This fluffy pilov is flavored with cilantro and bits of veal. There had to be some other green ingredient beyond the cilantro giving a unique vegetal taste to the rice. The funky Burmese green tea leaf salad at Rangoon came to mind when thinking about where I have tasted flavors like this before.
Shish-Kabob’s version of manti are huge dough packets stuffed with lamb chunks that were a little too gamey. Given the many fresh flavors on the table, this was not my favorite.
With all the amazing salads, soups, and side dishes we almost forgot about the name sake plate. Both the ground lula kebab ($3.25) and lamb rib ($3.75) were juicy and well seasoned.
Though on this visit I was there to sample as much of the menu as I could handle there is an amazing lunch special I skipped; a soup, bread, soda and hot entree choice including kabobs and Uzebki meat ravioli for $10. But if you have the time and company, you might be better off sampling as much of the giant menu as you can handle like we did.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Weirdly exciting cold salads
- Comforting soups and pilafs
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Some of the names and descriptions of dishes aren’t at all helpful
Shish-Kabob Palace, 1683 Grant Ave, 215 856-3404