Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater New York where the site’s editors, reporters, and critics answer specific or baffling restaurant requests from readers and friends. A new question and answer will run every Thursday. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form.
A group of Asian friends and I have a dining group that meets regularly. Last time we went to a Korean BBQ, and we liked all the soy-based marinades and sauces, and the place provided a good group experience (spacious and not too noisy). But we felt it was overall too expensive for the quantity of meat we got. In the past, we’ve done the obvious choices like dim-sum and hotpot to death, so we’re open to almost anything. I’m just trying to think of a place where the focus is the food to have a fun night with my friends. Doesn’t have to be super cheap, and we want to sit down at a table.
Good Eats and Value Desired
You don’t say how many guests are in your party, but I’m betting from my own experience in dining clubs that the number varies wildly. So let’s assume there are 10 of you. What you need is a place that’s large enough to accommodate big tables, and the front-of-the-house chops to deal with them hospitably and efficiently. Places where large after-work gatherings and big parties are a given.
I think a Uzbek restaurant is your best bet, providing some novelty but also offering some instantly familiar dishes as well. And because all show the influence of the former Soviet Union, where the primary mode of restaurant-going is banqueting, they tend to be large and expert at entertaining big groups. Also, the prices are often inexpensive for massive quantities of food.
One of the best is Nargis, located on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay. If you don’t live in Brooklyn, it’s well worth the trek out there. The menu includes fist-size steamed dumplings filled with lamb or pumpkin called manti, soups flavored with dill and cilantro filled with just-made noodles, and salads of shredded carrots or sliced tomatoes and onions. Perhaps best of all are the kebabs grilled over charcoal and the national dish of plov, which is a form of fried rice.
There’s also a new branch in Park Slope recently reviewed by my friend Ryan Sutton that’s easy to get to by subway, taxi, or car. Let me know how you like it! And thanks for your question.