When Silk Road Bistro shared a building with a Domino’s Pizza on the corner of Reisterstown Road and Slade Avenue, its colorful banner was usually overshadowed by the giant neon sign next door and it took us many passes to actually realize there was a restaurant serving Uzbek cuisine in Pikesville. When we finally ventured in a couple of years ago, we found a beautiful space with ornate tile patterns on the walls and traditional portraits. The place was filled with what we guessed were families from Uzbekistan and the food was spectacular and beautiful. We were both angry at ourselves for not noticing it earlier and worried that Baltimore’s Uzbek community (who knew we had one?) would be enough to sustain it. Our fears were unfounded: Silk Road has moved to a bigger space just up a few blocks on Reisterstown Road, next to another ethnic success story in Pikesville, Mari Luna Latin Grille, which grew out of Mari Luna Mexican Grill on Reisterstown Road and Seven Mile Lane.
Silk Road has brought the same ornate decor and delicious food to its new spot, which is much bigger and filled with inset murals of Uzbek cities and culture, poles swathed in fabric, and the same ornate tiling we loved at the old location. The food, if anything, tasted even better. The menu is full of traditional dishes, nearly all of which are intriguing—even more so if you’re down with beef tongue. We started with lagman ($5.49), a rich tomato-based soup filled with house-made noodles, beef, and vegetables. We moved on to another favorite, the manti ($7.20 for four pieces), delicate dumplings filled with either meat, pumpkin, or potato. The pumpkin ones reminded us so much of the beloved kaddo bawrani at The Helmand that we Googled a map on the spot to discover that Uzbekistan and Afghanistan share a border—delicious and educational! The plov ($7.45), an Uzbek mainstay of spiced rice with raisins, carrots, and pieces of lamb and beef, also reminded us of The Helmand’s flavors. The beef, chicken, and salmon kebabs were delicious, particularly when accompanied by the house-made yogurt sauce, and the dolmas (stuffed grape leaves, $7.45) were awesome and obviously house-made, not from a can, like so many other places in town. As usual, we left disappointed that the size of our stomachs prevented us from trying 10 or 12 other dishes. One day we’ll get around to trying jiz biz ($13.99) which, contrary to what you might imagine from the name, is described as “chunks of fried lamb served over crispy fried potatoes” and sounds a lot like lomo saltado, our favorite dish from nearby Peruvian place El Gran Pollo. Who would have thought our native Pikesville would have turned into a mecca for international cuisine?
1004 Reisterstown Road, (410) 205-7717, silkroadbistro.com