Georgian food served in Manhattan: Spirit of Georgia in Brooklyn
09 August, 2013
Georgian food served in Manhattan: Spirit of Georgia in Brooklyn
The New York Times reports about the Georgian restaurant Oda House, in Manhattan that serves famous Georgian dishes which is “a rarity this side of the Brooklyn Bridge”.
“It is early evening, but the crowd at Oda House is ready for 3 a.m. Young women with undulating hair, dressed in black from shoulder to mid-thigh, are primed for fancier precincts than this subdued corner of Alphabet City. Older women at other tables occasionally lean over
to dispense advice. What appears to be one vast family has colonized the seats by the front windows.
The floor is tile, the tables scratched, the light fixtures ruffled and crimped. On a speaker rests an overgrown sheepskin papakhi, cousin to the astrakhan hat, with wild woolly dreadlocks. Later there will be folk songs on hand drum and phanduri, a long-necked lute. It is a scene you might expect to find on Avenue U, not Avenue B.
Oda House, which opened in May, specializes in Georgian cuisine, a rarity this side of the Brooklyn Bridge. It is not the first restaurant in Manhattan to do so (Pepela, which occupies a more opulent space in lower Midtown, predates it by a few months), but it may be the first to capture the inclusive and at times shambolic spirit of Georgian restaurants in southern Brooklyn.
The chef, Maia Acquaviva, was a plastic surgeon in Georgia before coming to New York and redirecting her knife skills. For a while she cooked Russian food at Mari Vanna, but aside from a few mayonnaise-heavy salads, Georgia shares few culinary traditions with its northern neighbor, leaning instead toward Armenia and the Caspian states. At Oda House, which Ms. Acquaviva owns with her stepson, Beka Peradze, she has returned to the vivid herbs and spices that characterize cooking along the former Silk Road.
You taste utskho suneli — the dried seeds of blue fenugreek, used as a spice almost nowhere else in the world — in lobio, a stew of pinto beans presented in a clay jug with a dimpled cornmeal patty for a lid. Tarragon, believed to have been originally uprooted from Siberia and brought west by the Golden Horde, dominates chakapuli, lamb long simmered with mint and white wine. Here and there flares Georgian saffron, otherwise known as marigold, poised irresolutely between bitter and sweet.
Khinkali, monumental beef-and-pork dumplings, evoke the Tibetan steppe. You are meant to treat the long, pinched stem as a handle for maneuvering the dumpling into your mouth, then discard it. On a recent evening, my khinkali proved low on broth, suggesting collapsed (if excellent) meatballs in doughy skins.
For khachapuri, the legendary Georgian flatbread with guts of melted cheese, Ms. Acquaviva juxtaposes mozzarella and feta to approximate the taste of sulguni, a pliant, brined Georgian cheese. In a version called adjaruli, cheese bubbles in a crater at the bread’s center, into which, at the last minute, raw egg is dropped. The waitress churns it together tableside, then instructs you to break off the crusty hull and dip. It is too salty, too cheesy and spectacular.
Other types of khachapuri include imeruli, soft rather than crunchy, thanks to yogurt in the dough; chvishtari, sweet with cornmeal and akin to an arepa; and penovani, a bloated envelope of puff pastry. In kubdari and lobiani, two of the lightest (and best) variations, cheese is swapped out for wonderfully fragrant minced beef and mashed pinto beans.
A few dishes register as merely European: salmon baked in béchamel, Cornish game hen in a cast-iron skillet with a sizzling garlic-thyme broth. More exotic is kuchmachi, boiled chicken liver and gizzards draped in an unnervingly pinkish-brown sauce rich with walnuts, pomegranate juice, garlic, cilantro and vinegar.
The bright orange sign outside promises Mediterranean as well as Georgian cuisine. But pkhali — finely minced vegetables thickened with ground walnuts and served in dense ice-cream-scoop mounds — are heavier and more sour than meze. Desserts, mainly configurations of walnuts and honey, have a clearer Mediterranean lineage, save for pelamushi, a genuinely surprising, wine-dark, sweet-sour gelled dome of grape juice.
By the end of a meal, the sight of colossal khachapuris arriving at other tables can be slightly terrifying. But only for a moment: as Pushkin wrote in his famous lament “Upon the Hills of Georgia,” “Once again my heart ignites and loves/Because it can’t do otherwise,” the article published in New York Times by Ligaya Mishan reads.

Related Story:

How to eat Khinkali - Georgian basketball player Tornike Shengelia explains Brooklyn audience


Print
Other Stories
A story about the most delicious Adjarian Khachapuri in the city
History of the Georgian stuffed pastry dates back to centuries and still continues in an endless tradition in modern Georgia.
Georgia: A Haven for Vegetarian Foodies
Georgia has so much to rave about - Khorumi dancing, a rich ancient history, one of the world's oldest languages, post-card mountain villages and glistening Black Sea beaches, just to name a few.
Georgian restaurant ‘Natali’ in Spain
There are more and more Georgian restaurants appearing abroad.
Traveler devotes a vlog to the traditional Georgian cuisine
Last year Jodie Dewberry, a traveler who makes videos of her adventures throughout the world, visited Georgia with her friends.
Georgia: The Culinary Muse of the Caucasus owes a lot to Barbare Jorjadze
The New Yorker has recently devoted an article to the culinary of Georgia.
Video guide for some of Georgian dishes and traditions
It is not the first time Georgia and Georgian cuisine has become inspiration for others to write and explore more about the country.
Khachapuri featured on Youtube by Chef John
Khachapuri, a signature of Georgian cuisine has been featured on Youtube through the channel Food Wishes.
The Revival of Traditional Georgian Cheese-making
Saveur has devoted an article to the lesser-known types of Georgian cheese.
Georgian chef and embassy counselor at Fox 5 morning show
Georgian chef and Counselor of the Georgian embassy in Washington DC were invited to take part in the morning show at American TV Fox 5.
Top 5 local cheese types to taste in Georgia
Georgia is among the best cheese manufacturing countries.
The World Talks about Georgian Shoti Bread
Georgian cuisine is well-known across the world.
Khachapuri named Dish of the Year by af&co
af&co, a leading restaurant, and hospitality consulting firm has recently published this year’s trends report.
Boiled Khachapuri type to try in Georgia
You have probably heard of the Georgian signature dish Khachapuri.
Georgian restaurants in Kiev, Ukraine winning the hearts of their guests
Kyiv Post, Ukraine’s oldest English language newspaper has recently published an article about Georgian restaurants in Kiev.
5 Georgian dishes to warm up winters
Georgia offers a variety of hot and cold dishes.
5 Lesser-known Georgian dishes to taste
Georgian dishes such as Khinkali, Khachapuri, Churchkhela or Elarji are well-known to people abroad.
Khachapuri among 100 best-rated dishes on TasteAtlas
Georgian traditional dish Khachapuri is one of the best-rated dishes on TasteAtlas.
The Guardian: Khinkali best eaten with alcohol
The Guardian published an article about the traditional Georgian dish Khinkali in 2017.
Georgian Khachapuri Granted Cultural Heritage Status
The traditional method of making khachapuri has been granted the status of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia.
Top 10 Must -Try Georgian Dishes
Georgians were ruled by Greeks, Romans, Iranians, Arabs, Byzantians, Mongolians, Ottomans, and Russians over the years.
Georgian wine and how to look after vineyards
It requires lots of attention and knowledge to take care of vineyard.
How to prepare Gozinaki
Only a few hours left until New Year arrives. New Year's dinner is unimaginable without Gozinaki in Georgia.
6 dishes to make New Year dinner distinguished
New Year is coming and everyone is preparing for festivities.
Collection of alcohol drinks of one Georgian, worth of thousands of dollars
Alcoholic drinks collector and former head of the Georgian National Film Center Ferdinand Lortkipanidze has a very unique collection at home.
Traditional fasting dishes from Georgia ideally suited for vegans
The Georgian cuisine has a lot to offer, not only for meat lovers, but for vegetarians and even vegans likewise.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
18.11.2019
19.11.2019
USD
1
USD
2.9723
2.9736
EUR
1
EUR
3.2779
3.2888
GBP
1
GBP
3.8265
3.8544
RUB
100
RUB
4.6531
4.6555
750ml
White Dry
None  / 2016
18.30
750ml
Kvevri
Zangaura  / 2015
19.90
750ml
Red Semi-Sweet
Schuchmann Wines  / 2015
26.95
Other Stories
Now everyone knows Khachapuri, popular cheese bread from Georgia, that has become a must dish in New York city.
Georgian food and trademarks such as khachapuri, cheese bread, khinkali, meat dumplings, nigvziani badrijani, eggplant rolls with walnut
Extremely delicious cheese bread Adjaruli Khachapuri from Georgia’s mountainous Adjara Region
Anthony Bourdain is well-known in the US for his Emmy-winning travel show “Parts Unknown,” on CNN. One of the last episodes was dedicated to Georgia.
Popular Georgian cheese bread Adrajuli khachapuri has been spotlighted by world-famous website Culture Trip.
Combining wine and cheese is an unquenchable subject and it is being discussed by many gourmets and experts around the world.
Adjarian dishes are an integral part of Georgian cuisine and its culture.
World famous American food channel Food Network published a video recipe of a popular Georgian cheese bread Adjaruli Khachapuri.
Georgian cuisine, known for its hearty dishes and unique spicy flavors, has gone beyond Georgia's borders and captivated the hearts of many food enthusiasts around the world.
Georgian boat-shaped cheese bread named Adjaruli Khachapuri is not only Georgians’ beloved dish but now has already become a favorite dish of many people internationally.