When you make the effort to leave your apartment for a meal, it can be tempting to choose a restaurant for more than just food. You ditched the Snuggie for real-people clothes and hit pause on your Black Mirror marathon. After going to such great lengths, you may want to go to a spot where getting a reservation requires more preparation than a cross-country bike trip, or a place with artfully presented avocado-stuffed avocados.
Or maybe you don’t care if getting a reservation is more difficult than getting into a good New York preschool, regardless of the fact that preschool is just sandboxes and nap time. If you replaced your slippers with shoes and watched the screensaver appear on your AppleTV because you simply want some good food, then check out Nargis. This Uzbek restaurant in Park Slope serves excellent food in a very casual setting.
The food, which has influences from Eastern Europe, the Middle-East, and East Asia, ranges from hummus to pumpkin-filled puff-pastries to spicy noodle soups with lamb. It’s all hearty, affordable, and the portions are large, so this is not the kind of place where you’ll need to search Google Maps for nearby pizza places while paying the check. Most of the dishes are worth ordering, and the lamb, beef, and chicken kebabs that’re cooked over a wood fire are excellent. If you’re a fan of high quality meat on a stick, which we sincerely hope that you are, these are some of the best you can find in the city.
Despite its prime Park Slope real estate, you’ll feel comfortable showing up at Nargis in gym clothes, or if you happen to leave your apartment still wearing those slippers. The food comes out extremely quickly, the paper placemats are decorated with maps of Russia, and the speakers play a heavy dose of Natasha Bedingfield. But, Nargis serves good food that will make you happy you ate here, and that’s the reason (we think) this place has been packed every time we’ve visited. People also probably realize that Black Mirror marathons cannot be good for the heart.
Thick hand-pulled noodles come in a spicy broth with a good amount of beef and lamb, along with some Asian vegetables. Like everything here, this is a big portion, but it’s not really shareable. These udon-like noodles would be a good move if you’re dining solo and only plan to get a couple things.
If more salads had beef tongue, eggs, and housemade mayo, then we’d eat more salads. This is more of a meaty coleslaw topped with crispy onions, and it’s pretty great. It should certainly be shared if you plan on having room for anything else.
An assortment of spreads from Asia and the Middle East, including hummus, baba ganoush, and kimchi. Get this and an order of the Non, which is a huge basket of bread cooked in a clay oven.
Puff-pastries filled with your choice of lamb and beef or pumpkin. The pumpkin one is good, but the meat samsa is better. How could flaky pastries stuffed with chunks of lamb and beef not be good?
Dumplings that we actually preferred with pumpkin more than meat. These come loaded with actual pumpkin, not the spice that Starbucks pulls out three weeks a year.
A huge plate of rice pilaf that tastes like vegetable fried rice. The chunks of lamb served on top are good, but the rice is pretty bland. This acts mostly as a filler, which you certainly don’t need here. Just get some lamb kebabs instead.
This is basically potato lasagna. The noodles are soft and come topped with crushed tomatoes and herbs, but unless you’ve been diagnosed with a severe starch-deficiency, you can skip this.
This is a part of the menu that you should explore in detail. The kebabs aren’t dressed up or served with any accompaniments. The big portions of meat are cooked over wood and served on skewers. We liked all of them, but definitely try the lamb and beef combo, along with the chicken hearts and veal liver if you’re feeling more adventurous.