Russian-Uzbek Restaurant Coming to Ballston

by ARLnow.com November 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm 13,431 73 Comments

(Updated at 6:05 p.m.) Ruz Uz, a new restaurant serving Russian-Uzbek cuisine, is coming soon to the current Ballston Art and Framing location (formerly Daily Deli) at 1000 N. Randolph Street.

Rus Uz hopes to open later this month or early December, co-owner Igrokhim Rakhmatullaev tells ARLnow.com. The eatery will seat about 36 people inside and 20 people outside on the seasonal sidewalk cafe, he said. It will serve authentic Russian-Uzbek cuisine like plov, a rice dish, and borscht, a beetroot-based soup, as well as Russian wine and beer.

The business will be moving from Alexandria, where it exists as a catering company. Rus Uz will be primarily a restaurant, but will continue to do catering on the side. The company has catered for the Hillwood museum, the World Bank and for numerous weddings, said Rakhmatullaev.

The catering business has been “very successful,” according to Rakhmatullaev, leading him and his partners to the decision to open the restaurant. Other than Russia House, a restaurant and lounge near Dupont Circle in D.C., no other restaurant in the area specializes Russian-Uzbek cuisine, he said.

(Cafe Assorti, at 1800 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, serves traditional Russian dishes. The restaurant’s web site is currently unreachable.)

Rakhmatullaev said he hopes that the restaurant attracts members of the local Russian and Uzbek communities, as well as diners looking to expand their culinary horizons.

“I’m assuming people would like to try something different, something new,” he said.

The interior of the restaurant will feature traditional Russian decorations, Rakhmatullaev said. In the kitchen will be head chef and co-owner Bakhitiyor Rakhmatulleav, who has cooked for visiting heads of state at local embassies, according to Rakhmatullaev.

Photo courtesy Amelia Liebhold

  • CA


    • Emma

      I think it is not первьiй. Do you know Assorti? Cafe Assorti
      1800 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA

  • PearDPea

    Sounds great! Great to see a new cuisine around and hope it is very successful

  • DynaFlash 8

    How many pro hockey players will be hanging out in there?

    • DLGlenCarlyn

      That’s a trick question … None, because they all went back to the motherland to play hockey because of labor dispute.

    • even when (if?) we get hockey back, the caps only have 2 russians on the roster now, ovi (who’s in russia) and orly (who’s currently in hershey). but hey, backstrom is playing with ovi for dynamo moscow, so maybe he’ll come back with a stuffed cabbage craving =)

  • Gleber

    Cool. Wonder if a permit is required for belly dancing?

    • YTK

      Gelber — let us know when you get one– we’ll come over and cheer for you.

  • Allie

    Wow, I feel a little bad for the Art & Framing guys. Business must have been terrible.

    • DynaFlash 8

      I walked past the place, and I saw at least half a dozen other people walk by, as well.

      That should count for something … 😉

    • hbar

      I could be wrong, but when I walked by a few nights ago, it seemed like the restaurant was going to be added TO the frame shop, not that the frame shop was closing and the restaurant was taking over. I thought it was odd. I’m probably wrong. I don’t know.

      • Agree

        It does look that way. And did the frame shop actually ever open? I live in the hood and never once saw it open for business.

        • Son Of Sam

          Son of Sam was running the frame shop.

          He is a real chip off the block !!

    • bred

      I’m not sure that the art & framing place ever opened.

  • Sunshine

    Sounds delish! I’m always up for trying something new. Given that they are already an existing business, I’m sure they will do well.

  • Right of Center

    Short-lived Ballston [store X] location. Redundant.

  • Aika

    Looking forward to the new restaurant, however, Mr. Rakhmatullaev is mistaken, there is a restaurant that serves traditional Russian and Central Asian cuisine in Virginia. It’s called Cafe Assorti, located in Court House, and it’s owned by a Kazakh family. Great place! http://www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-assorti-arlington

    We’ll see if Rus Uz will be able to compete with Cafe Assorti!

    • Justin Russo

      That’s Rosslyn, not Courthouse.

      • Aika

        tomatO tomAto

    • NoVapologist

      There is also the very confused Serbian Crown restaurant in Great Falls, specializing in Russian, Ukrainian, and French cuisine.

      • Pedro

        And game meat. And overpriced drinks. And local octogenarians doing karaoke.

      • ballstoncmyk

        how is it confused? i’ve never been to Serbian Crown, but plenty of Russian high cuisine has French roots. seems like a reasonable combo to me.

    • Cheval

      Will there be horse on the menu, sourced locally from the annual cull at Chincoteague?

      • ShirlingtonBF

        Mmmmmm, hopefully. But not if Sen. Landrieu has anything to say about it….

    • RK

      Does anyone who doesn’t work at Cafe Assorti find it good? I really want to like it because it’s in my neighborhood but I just find it strange. Maybe I’m ordering the wrong things.

      There was a bartender there who could make some decent drinks, but he might be gone.

      • Hattie McDaniel

        I wonder how it stays in business. It is a fairly large space (=high rent), but I’ve never seen more than a few people in there at any one time, and often it is completely empty.

        • RK

          The bartender I like told us that the owners paid cash for the space, so they own it outright. Apparently they come from a lot of Kazakh money.

      • Ben

        Thanks for the thought. They let me go do to the restaurant is now on the market

  • Steve Rockland

    Are we forgetting the other Russian-Uzbek cuisine also in Arlington at Cafe Assorti?

    • yrb

      Assorti is Kazakh (Borat-land)

  • Just Me

    Did that framing store even open? Glad to get a new place that is not a cupcake, frozen yogurt, burger, or pizza.

    • YTK

      Uh oh — now you did it. The menu will feautre Russian Burgers, Russion Froyo, Russian Cupcake and Russian Pizza.

  • Clarendon Skank

    Perhaps a good place to look for Serbian lifeguards.

  • James Moron

    Hmmm, I wonder why there aren’t more Russian place. Must be tons of pent of demand for borscht.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love a little pirozhki every now and again, but this place ain’t gonna make money.

    All of us on ArlNow will swing by once and impress our dates by taking them there. Then, we’ll conclude that it kind of sucks, and head back to our normal hangouts.

    I predict a lifespan longer than the framing store and less than the terrible Daily Deli. Over/Under is seven months.

  • Jerry

    I don’t think the frame store is closing, just reducing space to make room for the new restaurant. I walked by over the weekend, and the space has been partitioned off into about 2/3 of the space for the restaurant, and 1/3 for the frame store. Two guys out front who must have worked at one of the businesses said the frame store is staying for now.

  • cosmo kramer

    the Ukraine is weak!

    • JamesE

      Ukraine is game to you?

      • Uh, Hello?

        It’s UZBEKISTAN. Not Ukraine. Or Uruguay.

        • JamesE

          Quote fail

          • Fail fail

            Reciting quotes from tv shows or movies is the lowest form of humor.

          • JamesE

            not as low as complaining about tv quotes on the internet

          • Fail fail

            No, no. I’m pretty sure it’s lower.

          • JamesE

            ^^ internet tough guy doesn’t like his Seinfeld quotes!!

          • Fail fail

            Hey, where’s your ribbon?

            Oh, I don’t wear the ribbon.

            You don’t wear the ribbon?

            See how I turned that around on you? That just blew your mind didn’t it.

  • Transit-Oriented Development

    Let’s see. Deli near Metro–closes. Framing shop replaces it–and closes. Now it’s gonna be a restaurant. Best of luck to them.

    Sounds like high rents erase the walk-by traffic that merchants are banking on near Metro.

    (Meanwhile, businesses in strip malls are surviving and even thriving.)

    • PearDPea

      Are you seriously making a blanket statement based on this one location? I think the overall vacancy rate in the the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor tells us it is pretty strong market.

      • TOD

        Not based on just this location, but many others like it too. How many businesses have been featured on ArlNow only to go out of business months later? Most are on the Orange Line; none are on western Columbia Pike or Lee Highway. I honestly think that it’s the high rents that kill them. I see lots of restaurants in non-Metro areas that don’t do a huge amount of business–but they still do enough to survive. This is why you have almost nothing but chain restaurants in Clarendon now.

        • PearDPea

          The Clarendon in Arlington VA? In terms of sit down restaurants, the only national chain I can think of is Cheesecake Factory. There are some places with ownership that owns more than one local restaurant but doesn’t seem like they have a giant building with executives and stuff. I guess it doesn’t really matter, I’ll keep walking to places and driving to other places.

          • Tapas

            Isn’t LaTasca also a chain?

        • clarendon is just packed with terrible chain restaurants! like whitlow’s, boulevard woodgrill, pete’s, tallula/eatbar, liberty tavern, dehli club, rabbit grill, iota, circa, eventide, nam viet, american tap room…

          i think some people on arlnow must just enjoy being outraged. i’m sure you guy can find actual things to be pissed off about easily enough without playing these silly games.

          • er, you *guys

    • drax

      Every town has at least one location where restaurants go to die.

  • Ballsteve

    Does this mean the NHL lockout is coming to an end?

    • LuLu

      There’s a NHL lockout? How do you like that?

  • Alex

    I’m always excited when something that isn’t pizza, burgers, froyo, etc comes to A-town!

    • Boris

      In Usbek we eat frames as appetizer. froyo is for baby goats when their mama’s teats are in the wind..

    • Brian

      You mean across the street from A-town…

  • BallstonDweller

    Glad to see something different! I wish them well and will definitely check it out.

  • emanon

    Perhaps we’ll be able to see Sarah Palin’s house from the outdoor porch.

  • Deadite

    Can anyone explain why there are so many damn framing stores in Arlington? Keep an eye out the next time your driving around town – you’ll spot at least 5 or 6 of them. How many people can possible need a picture framed at any given time?

    • Arlingtoon

      I’ve noticed the same thing with respect to discount mattress stores.

  • Hank

    In Soviet Union, Russian-Uzbek restaurant comes on you!

  • Wiz

    Great success!

  • JohnB2

    I’m happy to see something unusual come to Ballston. I hope they do well!

    Still on my wish list for Ballston:
    -Indian (yes I know that place on Glebe closed but it was too out of the way)
    -Falafel & Gyro/Shawarma type place

    • AbeFroman


      It will be interesting to see how this place holds up in what seems like a little bit of a dead zone between the Ballston and VA Sq metros.

  • Mick

    Proposed name.

    “Babushkas, Babyshkas, Beets, and More!”

    Ad copy:

    I say Uzbek, you say Youzbek.
    Let’s meet over beets at Ballston.

    …Better pahrkeeng than at Roossia House
    And you leave with your teeth.!

    Vhahtz not to like?”

    • WeiQiang

      I see the trend now, so I’m proposing:

      Qiang’s House of Gołąbki & борщ

    • nom de guerre

      Ruski’s угол and Brewskis

  • Bride

    Can I pick up my mail order Russian bride while getting a meal?

  • D.King

    So the deli becomes a frame store and is now a Russian place…and yet the Chevy’s location is still empty?

    Ballston is sometimes a little strange and also the mall truly is toxic

  • diddly doo

    they aren’t opening for food silly. it’s a front for the russian mafia.

  • karzai

    This is definitely something we need in the area, something new and different.

  • Foodfan

    The new restaurant is the first Uzbek food place in DC area. It is a great place. Cafe Assorti can’t compete with it because the food at Cafe Assorti is not authentic. People who have never tried real Uzbek food wouldn’t know the difference. There are so many parodies to Uzbek pilaf, but none is authentic. RusUz is the one.


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