Jibek JoluAddress: 5047 N Lincoln Avenue
A couple of months ago we were walking north on Lincoln and noticed that the former Pizzeria D’Ora space was being renovated. A friendly yet shy young man said it was going to be a ?Central Asian? restaurant. We returned after they officially opened and discovered that the owners are from Kyrgyzstan, and the name ?Jibek Jolu? means Silk Road ? the historic crossroads where caravans traveled between Russia, China, Korea, Turkey and Europe.
These cultural influences are seen in the d?cor (featuring woven textiles and ottomans) and tasted throughout their limited menu. We sampled the Lagman (a brothy lamb stew served on homemade noodles), Manty (meat-and-pumpkin-stuffed dumplings), mashed potato-filled dumplings, and the meatball soup, which was served with spongey bread.? Dumplings here are less like pierogies and more like other Asian-style dumplings. Despite what the back of the menu says, I think vegetarians can enjoy the potato dumplings paired with the peppery carrot salad for a satisfying meal. Entrees run in the ~$10 range and soups (which are large enough for a meal) are ~$5, so it?s easy to order whatever intrigues you.
The Kyrgyz are reportedly known as a very hospitable people. The owners of Jibek Jolu (a family that shares all the work) are committed to introducing Chicagoans to their food, but they still seem a little shy. They don?t advertise a BYOB policy, but when we asked about opening our bottle of wine our server brought cups and apologized for not having wine glasses. Some might consider that tactless considering their Muslim background, so I recommend asking first before opening anything ? a policy that works in any restaurant. They are supposed to be open every day from 9 AM to Midnight, so I will have to return and check out the breakfast options.
They don?t have a website, but you can find more information and photos on their Facebook page, where they also answer questions.