On a small street in Queens' Kew Gardens neighborhood, two brothers have been making bread for nearly 20 years. After leaving Bukhara, a really old city in Uzbekustan, Dovid and Gabriel Murdakhayev arrived in New York in 1997 and opened up King David's Bakery.
Unlike many other joints wallowing in Queens' newfound culinary hype, King David's is a no-frills local spot that seems to have only one goal in mind: making just a few things, and making them right.
Among those things is is their tandoori—a bare bones naan-like bread that is baked in two massive tandoor clay ovens that the brothers themselves built by hand. When I asked how they've nearly perfected a dish that's thousands of years old, Dovid, emphasizes technique over ingredients. "It's just water, yeast, salt, a little sugar, and sesame," he tells me matter-of-factly.
As for the technique, his crew of bakers have it down to a science—slaving away in front piping hot clay tomb, they carefully attach the dough all around the walls of the oven and monitor the temperature inside using a laser thermometer, occasionally hosing the inner walls down with water every so often, after each batch, to make sure the heat is just right.
Another best-seller is their somsa, an Uzbeki version of samosas. Dovid and Gabriel's version comes in three different flavors: pumpkin, potato, and mushroom. And lastly, they make and sell a ton of toki, a large round cracker-like finger food that can be eaten with things like matzoh and hummus. The bakery also doubles up as a specialty grocery store where fellow Russian-expats can pick up a wide variety of staples in Russian Kosher cuisine.
All said and done, King David's struck me as a real "salt of the earth" type of place. Just a few talented guys keeping their culinary traditions alive. To further illustrate that, when I first met the guys and explained that I'd be casing the joint and writing a few paragraphs on him and his bakery for MUNCHIES (on account of them airing their latest Fuck That's Delicious episode—which, mind you—features his bakery) he had no idea who Action Bronson was!