Farida Central Asian Cuisine & Grill
If you can, try to snag a table at Farida in Hell’s Kitchen showcasing the foods of Central Asia, including Uzbekistan. Space is tight with just two rows of tables in a warmly lit space with stained glass pendant lights and traditional artwork from the region. Dinner begins with some Samsa, crispy puff pastries filled with your choice of meat, spinach or pumpkin. They're topped with sesame seeds and dill and served with light tomato sauce. Cold appetizers include pickled herring and assorted pickled vegetables. There is borscht, and meat dumplings served in a clear chicken broth. Larger steamed dumplings, called Manti, are also available stuffed with meat, onion and spices. Chuchvara, hand-made beef dumplings, are deep-fried, while delicate cheese pierogi made in-house (and very delicious) get by with just a dab of sour cream. Farida also specializes in skewers, called Shashlyk, made with chicken, lamb ribs, and beef. They are served one to two skewers per plate and with pickled vegetables. Seafood options, including swordfish and seabass, are also available. Eating at Farida is like being invited into a friend's home for a freshly-cooked meal. You may not want to leave.
- Thomas Rafael