Classic Jiz Biz and Other Lamb Dishes from Feasterville’s Uzbeki Dining Palace Samarkand

For a while now Uzbekistan has been my spot to trek to for my Uzebeki food cravings and yes I do often enough  have cravings that only Uzbeki food can satisfy. A while back Craig LaBan recommended Samarkand, a bit farther and fancier than Uzbekistan, but offering a very similar menu and comparably affordable prices.

A good way to start a meal here is with some salads and pickle plates first followed by soups. A pickle plate came with cabbages, tomatoes, and most impressively- chayote. The barely sweet, delicate chayote, which I have only had roasted, took its brine like a champ. I loved this idea and its execution.

Borsh ($4.50) is served hot with pieces of braised meat and a side of sour cream. The kharcho soup had more of a Middle Eastern flavor. In total, there are about 15 soups on Samarkand’s menu, which is pretty awesome for any soup lover.

Samarkand, never one for flowery language, has a whole menu section devoted to “flour based dishes”.  This should be where you find your next course selections. Meat dumplings come 4 to an order and stuffed with lamb, beef, and onions. Some of the meat bits were a little fatty, so proceed according to your fat tolerance.

The  beef and lamb cheburek ($2 each) have a similar filling, in a more fried, flaky packaging.  These could be great to freeze and pop in the toaster oven for an Uzbeki hot pocket whenever you need one.

Now its time to move on to the meaty, main courses. The pilaf Samarkand ($8) is topped with  lamb and lightly candied carrots. The rice had a really enjoyable texture, reminiscent of Thai sticky rice.

Lamb ribs and ground lamb kebabs, I have learned, are a must at any Uzbeki feast. Samarkand does them right. The little ribs are charred and the ground lamb is moist and light.

Someone let Mary know she should keep her little lamb far far away from Samarkand, based on the preferred meat of this menu.  A shared order of “classic jiz biz” (so very many jokes could be made here) resulted in a simple plate of lamb breast, tender enough to be handled by a set of dentures.

A side of fried potatoes  was cut in bigger chunks, rather than the thin crispy slices I love at Uzbekistan restaurant. It’s ok, Samarkand, I forgive you because you filled me with so much lamb.

To complete the night, something sweet after all that salt is key. We went back to the flour based section, forgoing the extensive Americanized dessert menu, and picked cherry filled vareniki ($6). The gorgeously delicate wrapper contained a sour cherry filling. I would love to know the secret of how they get the dough to stay closed, that has posed a challenge in my home dumpling making ventures.

I am glad I expanded my Uzbeki repertoire. It would be hard to pick a favorite between Uzbekistan and Samarkand. Many of the dishes are almost identical. I would have to say it comes down to your preferred ambiance;  Uzbekistan is slightly more casual and will likely have music videos on televisions all around the restaurant. Samarkand has a dance floor and they are not afraid to use it.  No matter which you choose, bring the vodka so you can blend in with the regulars.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Huge menu of affordable and hearty soups, salads, dumplings, and lamb

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Feasterville!
  • Some dishes only available for groups of 10

Samarkand, 1135 Bustleton Pike, Feasterville, 267 288 5077


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