Arlington, VA 22201
We've written about RusUz on this blog in the past, so we will not repeat ourselves. But we love it so much that we keep going back for more plov, more manty and more borscht. Russian and Central Asian food isn't for everyone, and we are the first to admit this. But for those who are not familiar with this kind of food, this is a great place to be introduced to it.
Food at RusUz has been great every time we have gone (about a dozen times since they opened a few years ago), and the service has gotten better with time. We are not alone in thinking this. The restaurant is quite busy and often gets booked for private events, so we reservations are highly recommended, particularly on a Friday or Saturday evening, when the wait can be quite long without a reservation. The only drawback is the increasingly rocky chairs at some of the tables, but that's what an ethnic dive is all about! If you mention this to the staff, they will change out your chair.... The staff is very friendly, pleasant, knowledgeable and accommodating.
For those who drive everywhere, note that street parking is at a premium on weekend evenings in this busy area of Ballston, especially if there is a game in one of the surrounding bars, such as the awesome A-Town Bar & Grill. So, unless you're metroing, parking at the nearby Ballston Commons Mall parking lot is always an option, if you don't mind walking 3 short blocks.
By the way, here is a guide to Central Asian dishes http://www.buzzfeed.com/dianabruk/delicious-uzbek-dishes-you-need-to-try-immediately#.yrN4gzvEr and here is a partial list of Russian food that you will find at RusUz also http://www.buzzfeed.com/tashweenali/delicious-russian-foods-for-your-sochi-olympics-party#.rmpvoNJQP. We've also offered a description of Central Asian food and geography in our previous posts about RusUz, as well as another excellent Central Asian restaurant in Gaithersburg, MD (yes, we crossed the border!) called Choyhona. While the chef of Chayhona is from Samarkand, the chef at RusUz is from Tashkent. Try both and see if you can tell the difference in their plov! Each region and each town has their own recipe for this delicious dish.
Here are some more pictures of wonderful food at RusUz:
Appetizers starting from the far left:
Bliny (a.k.a. Blinchiki) (Two orders of these here) - Russian traditional thin pancakes (crepes) filled with ground beef, topped with sour cream
Pirozhki - Russian traditional flaky crust pies stuffed with mashed potatoes and mushrooms
Crab stick salad - Rice, hard-boiled eggs, sweet corn, and diced crab mixed with house mayonnaise
Manty (main course) - A staple in Uzbek cuisine. Large steamed dumplings with marinated dices of lamb and onions
Centered on the tray is a bowl of the beet and cabbage beef-based borscht with a dollop of sour cream, as traditionally served in Russia
Main course dishes starting with the top left:
Two orders of delicious Uzbek plov - Rice-based dish with either beef or lamb, as well as carrots, chickpeas, raisins and regional spices
Goluptsi - a Russian baked dish of seasoned ground beef and rice filling stuffed inside cabbage leaves, traditionally served with sour cream
Siberian pelmeni - Probably the best-known Russian dish of boiled delicate dumplings stuffed with ground beef served traditionally with sour cream (yes, again, sour cream) and dill
Chicken Shashlyk (kabob) served with a medley of green vegetables and topped with onions
Delicious juicy Lamb Shank
Dolma - Stuffed Grape Leaves
Assortment of rich dessert cakes that are all calorie-free (wink wink)
Priatnovo Appetita! Bon Appetit!