Spotting the sign reading 'Central Asian Cuisine,' on the black and white storefront outside this north Lincoln Square
restaurant might get you wondering what exactly Central Asian cuisine might be. You wouldn't be alone, and, in fact, there are supposedly only a few dozen people in the Chicago area who could explain it definitively. The food served here is from Kyrgyzstan, and the owner of Jibek Jolu estimates that there are maybe 50 Kyrgy natives living in this city.
The food, thankfully, has appeal far beyond that small group. The main dish at Jibek Jolu is lagman, a soupy blend of noodles, served in a hot broth and topped with lamb, onions, tomato and other diced vegetables. Imagine a somewhat vinegar-like udon dish, similar in taste to some Vietnamese pho dishes. Lamb is big here, and the 'samsy,' a derivative of samosas, feature spiced lamb meat stuffed inside a flaky pastry crust.
Jibek Jolu means 'silk road,' referring to the storied trade route traversing Central Asia. Jibek Jolu, the restaurant, is well worth you making your own trek across the Chicago expanse for a taste of this artfully crafted and tasty cuisine.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman