In my search for a Tajikistan restaurant I could not find one - all the Central Asian restaurants were Uzbek, however, in my Sherlock Holmes-type hunt I discovered Padishah, as the voice on the end of the phone said, "I am from Tajikistan and our cook is Tajik." That was good enough for me as I jumped on the Q line getting off at the Avenue U stop. As you enter Padishah, which means "King" you are immediately struck by the truly amazing murals of life in Central Asia that circle the restaurant. They are done by an artist named Vladirmir who is from Minsk and is now lives in New York.
This is Mohammed, he was "the voice on the phone" I spoke with. Mohammed is a waiter at Padishall, and from Tajikistan. He is a fascinating young man, just 22, having arrived about one year ago directly from Malaysia where he worked for four years. He telling me Uzbek and Tajik are slightly different in language and customs - however, "the food is the same." He has a wonderful nature about him and was most instructive on my ordering.
I started with "Achichuk" a salad simply of tomatoes and onion - but the taste so fresh and satisfying, followed by "Lagman," a Tajic classic of thick noodles, beef chunks, and red and green peppers. With this came a huge chunk of bread piping hot out of the oven. And then a grilled kebab on not just a skewer, but looking more like a sword. What made this kebab so tasty was that it was half beef - half lamb. Mohammed told me it is called a "Lulya kebab" and is a favorite with Tajiks. (especially good when plying with the hot sauce) The meal was filling and so satisfying - and believe it or not the cost was only $18. To enhance the meal even more was the Tajik music that played. Between the art on the walls, the music, the banter with Mohammed and terrific food, I felt very removed as if I was in the country.
Address - 1920 Avenue U (Brooklyn) (718) 743 - 9656