You know when that craving for Uzbek-Korean food hits and nothing else will satisfy your taste buds? No? Didn’t even know Uzbek-Korean was a thing? Well, technically it’s Uzbek, Korean, and Russian dishes, and it’s no accidental mash-up: Approximately 500,000 ethnic Koreans reside in the former Soviet Union, and here in Brighton Beach, it’s less an integration of flavors than a pairing of cuisines. Owner Elza Kan, a grandmother of four who speaks only Russian, began making cold Korean and Russian salads in her basement, which morphed into a store, and then in 2005 into a restaurant. Some menu items are self-explanatory: veal shish kebab, braised cabbage with rice and meat. Other fare, not so much, like tin-gan, a Korean salmon soup that needs to be pre-ordered, or mash-hurdy, a minute steak dressed with mayo and wrapped in an omelet. For summer, cold soups satisfy: The Russian okroshka traditionally includes raw vegetables, potatoes, eggs, a cooked meat, and kvass (made from fermented rye bread). One reviewer, however, noted that Kan’s version is milk-based and contains egg, celery, potato, and — wait for it — bologna. The Korean kuksu is a beef noodle soup with pickled cucumber, dill, and cabbage. The café’s not hip, nor trendy. Just quirky, neighborhoody family goodness with low prices. And, of course, do like the Russians and BYOV — yes, bring your own vodka.
a/k/a Elza Fancy Food Corp.
3071 Brighton 4th Street, Brooklyn