Image: Rice noodles with chicken.
First Visit: January 2020
Next to Indique in Cleveland Park, Dolan Uyghur serves up hearty food from the rugged mountains and high deserts of what is now the Xinjiang province of China. Over the centuries, the region’s food collected elements from the various points along the Silk Road that once stretched from China to the Mediterranean and crossed through the territory. Those who have tried and liked Afghan, Nepalese, or Georgian cuisine may find Dolan Uyghur another place to add to the rotation. It is also recommended for those that like noodles.
Thick Laghman noodles, that are hand-pulled to extreme lengths, are the heart of the menu. The dishes are more hearty than spicy, though the rice noodles with chicken had a little kick. The meat dumplings (Piter Manta) are akin to black-pepper-spiced meatballs encased in a moderately thick dough. Also tried were the kebabs that were well-seasoned with cumin and a hint of onion, but a little dry. Beef, chicken, and lamb are the primary meats. Although we did not try it, the “Big Plate Chicken” gets positive reviews. Eggplant and cucumbers are prominent among the vegetables. Desserts are variations of Baklava and one in-house version of cake.
Beer and wine are represented if you are looking for it, but the teas seem to be the thing to get here – coming in a big pot with loose leaves.
The place is a bit worn. The service is sweet but can be scattered. As Tom warned in his review in the Post, dishes can come all at once, so consider ordering as you go to avoid overcrowding the table. Which is to say, do not come expecting a fine dining experience, and those who become aggravated by lapses in service may find themselves stewing. (The vibe carries over to the website that still has developer filler language in places).
With those caveats we would still contend that the food is so comforting that the patience required is rewarded in the end. If you are up that way, we suggest that you give it a try.
Other Guidance: This is a casual, neighborhood spot with no special attire required. GF and vegetarians might be able to construct a meal, but it is not a place that easily caters to those restrictions. The restaurant has two floors, the first one at street level with a few tables. Additional tables are up a flight of stairs.
Rating: Worth Trying Out
Cuisine: Other Asian
Neighborhood: Cleveland Park
Address: 3518 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Website: https://www.dolanuyghur.com/ (still needs some work)
Reservations: On website
Washington Post: Tom gave it two stars and a decent review.
Washingtonian: Cheap Eats in 2019 and 2018.
DCist: Background and cheat sheet on Uyghur food.