This is a new Uyghur restaurant that just opened in Crystal City. There are lots of Uyghurs in and around DC but there hasn't been a real restaurant here before so we tried it out today.
If you're going to eat Uyghur food, you need to get laghman. Uzbeks make laghman but it's just an imitation of the real thing and Kyrgyz already know that when they make laghman, it's Uyghur. They don't call it Kyrgyz. This place had several different types of laghman which means you know you've come to the right place. You can get plov but there's not a good reason to do that. This was real, hand-pulled laghman (not flung though; I asked).
I got the gyuro laghman (I think it was the braised meat one on the menu? We didn't really use the menu) and my husband got the dry-fried. Apparently they also have a picture menu, but we didn't look at it since we knew what we were getting into, except that we couldn't always figure out how they'd translated some things and we would have been better off with the Uyghur one. Anyway, both were delicious and perfect, although both weren't as spicy as they should have been. I asked for lazy, but our server wasn't Uyghur and didn't know what I meant.
We also got a couple of samsas. Some of the reviews of the place hadn't liked the samsas (they seemed to be comparing them to other things like dumplings, which samsas most certainly are not, or to empanadas, which is a closer comparison but still not right), but they were absolutely right. They tasted exactly the way they should have and were perfectly warm and flaky.
It was such a lovely meal. The owner has been in the US for about 6 years and his family owned a restaurant in Urumqi (he was born in Kashgar and grew up in Urumqi). We were there around 2 and there were a couple of Uyghur women there along with two men who were speaking Russian- one was Russian and the other Central Asian.
I can't imagine that this restaurant has much chance at success- Uyghur food isn't well known at all and it's stuck in Crystal City. It's also categorized as Chinese or Turkish food in some places which is probably the best they can do, but it doesn't give people the right idea because it's neither Chinese or Turkish. It's just amazing Central Asian food.
And now I need to make laghman again.