Sunday, November 19, 2017

Bar BQ - Samarkand, Uzbekistan

We were getting really tired of our tour group buffets. Long affairs with mass produced and relatively mediocre food. So we made an effort when we could to skip the tour dinner and go out on our own. One of our really outstanding guides on the trip, Julia, an Uzbeki, recommended a restaurant for us in Samarkand. Six of us decided to go and Julia called two cabs and gave the drivers directions and called the restaurant to let them know we were coming. It was a good thing because English is not widely spoken in Uzbekistan and her paving the way made things much easier.

Bar BQ is one of three restaurants in the same building (Suzane serving Uzbeki food and Zlata Praha serving European style food being the other two) under the umbrella of Zlata Praha. We pulled up to the restaurant in two cabs, walked in and no one could speak English. With hand gestures and lots of ineffectual talking we maneuvered ourselves to a large table and had a seat. The waiter found one English menu, which had quite a few entrees and had to be shared by six of us. It was nice to be seated by friends and to pick what we wanted instead of having the mass-produced meal of the day placed before us. 
The gem was a meat plate which was for 3 or 4 people ordered by Judy and Susan. It worked out to be about $15.00 USD. It had a smorgasbord of very nice and nicely cooked lamb chops, delicious minced lamb or beef kabobs, vegetable skewers, including onion, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers, some other meats I didn't try, but believe included bacon wrapped chicken, along with some crepes and different dipping sauces. 

This plate was so long that it was hard to fit in one shot.
I ordered various lamb dishes (lamb neck and large lamb chops) and was told they were out of lamb. To my consternation, the meat dish had lots of lamb and I couldn't figure out why the restaurant had told me they were out of lamb. I figured they must have been out of lamb I was specifically asking for, which was lamb neck and larger lamb chops. Fortunately Susan and Judy shared the lamb chops with me. These lamb chops were nice and meaty. Some of the lamb we had, particularly in China, was all bones, as if from an anorexic lamb on a hunger strike. So I particularly relished this lamb. 

I ultimately ordered a beef ribeye and it was okay. A little tough and rather small. I also ordered some grilled vegetables which included a slice of egg plant, zucchini, a red pepper, a spicier green pepper and a tomato. Nothing special or unusual about the grilled vegetables, but they are always a nice addition. 
John ordered a beef filet which cost about $5.00. It was very tender. He shared a bite with me and it was good, but the lamb was so good that I wished for more. 
Filet mignon
Terry and Geneil ordered some spaghetti and some other vegetarian dishes that I did not photograph. 
It was a lovely meal with friends in a nice, relaxed setting. We'd all grown so tired of the buffets and mass-produced set menus with our 90 person tour that this was particularly welcome and appreciated. 

The final bill came to about $40.00 USD - for six people. Not bad at all. The taxi ride each way was about $.95. We paid for the meal in 5000 Uzbeki Som (Sum) bills, the standard bills given at ATMs. It took 62 of them. The Uzbekistan banking system is a mess and they don't take credit cards. The currency was devalued by about 40% right before we got there, resulting in the incredible values we were getting. 

1 comment:

  1. Such a fun meal, although it did take forever to get our food. Our waiter made a valiant effort to work with us, and that meat plate was really REALLY good. On the other hand, Geneil never got the shish kebab she ordered. Luckily, there was plenty of food to go around.