In fact, if you would have asked me what Uzbeki food was prior to our visit, I probably would've fumbled in an attempt to make something up. Now that I have tried it for myself, I can try and give describing it a shot.
If Visiting Kavsar, You Better Like Meat
Uzbeki food (and the Russian counterparts that are served) is incredibly beef-centric. I may not be doing the restaurant justice by saying this, but our first impression of the menu was that nearly every item contained meat, and the vegetarian dishes were simply some of the staple items with the meat removed.
For vegetarians you do have several options, such as the incredibly delicious eggplant rolls filled with dill, onion, and garlic wrapped up like a spring roll, but be prepared to face the fact that most of the dishes are created as meat dishes first, and tailored to be vegetarian as an after-thought.
Now that we have that disclaimer out of the way, let's talk about the dishes we tried (and the meat!).
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Familiar Dishes That You Will Recognize
When it comes to Uzbeki dishes, it turns out that they have many versions of dishes we already know and had in other countries. The borsch (made with a beef broth and topped with a large dollop of sour cream) is by far one of the best iterations of the dish we've ever had.
The manti with beef will make any true Pittsburgher proud as they are essentially boiled pierogis, filled with meat, and come with a creamy sour-cream-and-onion-like dipping sauce on the side.
In fact, many of the other items at Kavsar give the impression that this country is home to a blend of many cuisines of nearby countries with only a slightly altered flavor profile to match the local preference. We've been to several places where this fails miserably (anyone ever try Cambodian? Didn't think so.) but Kavsar's display of Uzbeki food does not disappoint and is a welcomed addition into Pittsburgh's growing international food scene.
Throw in a toned-down ambiance, Uzbeki music videos playing on the TV, and a no-thrills menu and you almost had me convinced that we were no longer in Pittsburgh and instead magically transported to a hidden local joint in Tashkent.
No matter what you order when visiting Kavsar, just be sure to pick up a side of their Uzbek homemade bread- a fresh, just-made bread that is perfect for soaking up the remaining dips, soup, and sauces you're likely going to have with your meal.
Kavsar is located at 16 Southern Avenue on Mount Washington.
For more international food in Pittsburgh, why not check out Subba Asian (Nepali), Streets on Carson (international street food), Royal Myanmar (Burmese), or some of the amazing Pittsburgh street food to try something new!