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
Georgian cuisine by The Dish – Part 3
Here are a number of other Georgian foods that the presenters of the podcast The Dish recommend you to taste in Georgia:
Georgian cuisine by “The Dish” – Part 2
The podcast The Dish tell the listeners about the history of Georgian cuisine and the meals everyone should taste in Georgia. The Georgians have been ruled by Greeks, Romans, Iranians, Arabs, Byzantians, Mongolians, Ottomans, and Russians.
Georgian cuisine by “The Dish” – Part 1
The podcast “The Dish” talks about Georgian dishes as well as the history of the country. Georgian cuisine has been shaped by different cultures such as ancient Greek and Roman, middle eastern Turkish,central Asian, Mongolian, Russian and Indian influences.
Humus with white beans and ginger
Beans is very popular in Georgia. one of the main dishes in Georgia, especially in the western part of the country is Lobio or beans.
The Independent names Georgian wine among the best eastern European wines
Georgia is becoming more and more famous for its wine. Recently, The Independent published an article about Eastern European wines.
Delicious Veggie Pasta
The Café Piatto offers its guest delicious dishes. Here is the veggie pasta recipe cooked by the chef at the café. The dish is popular amonst vegetarians.
Fried beef liver in pomegranate juice
Locals in the Samegrelo region (in the west part of Georgia) cook beef liver in pomegranate juice.
Georgian Chvishtari with Ajika
Chvishtari is a Georgian cornbread with cheese. It originates from Svaneti, the mountainous region of Georgia.
Chicken liver with ajika and satureja
Megrelian cuisine (from Samegrelo, in the western part of Georgia) is distinguished by its spicy meals.
Kupati in Saperavi wine
Each region in Georgia has its special cuisine. Kupati is a dish common in the western part of Georgia, Samegrelo.
Pkhali of New Cabbage
Pkhali is a traditional Georgian dish of chopped and minced vegetables, made of cabbage, eggplant, spinach, beans, beets and combined with ground walnuts, vinegar, onions, garlic, and herbs. In this article the receipt of Cabbage Pkhali is suggested.
Detailed recipe how to cook the Adjarian khachapuri
Khachapuri is a popular Georgian dish made of cheese and dough. Adjarians have their own way of cooking Khachapuri.
Fish in walnut sauce (Satsivi)
Satsivi is a food paste in Georgian cuisine made primarily from walnuts and is used in various recipes.
The Most Spicy Adjika with Spices
Ajika or adjika is a Georgian-Abkhazi hot, spicy but subtly flavored dip often used to flavor food.
How to cook Khinkali at home
You can use either pork or beef to make minced meat for Khinkali, although traditional Khinkali in Pshavi (a mountain region on the Eastern Georgia) it is made from sheep.
Rolled Sulguni pieces filled with vegetables
Sulguni cheese with vegetables is a perfect combination for summer meals.
Roast Rolled Flank Steak and Kakhetian wine
Ever wondered how to compliment Georgian food with Georgian wine? – Today we explore recipe for a roast Rolled Flank Steak and wine to go with it.
Eggplants with walnuts
Edible greens with walnuts is characteristic of Georgian cuisine. They are served at every celebration and party.
Dry beans (Lobio) in a pot
There are many recipes in Georgia to prepare beans. Beans prepared in a pot are of a special taste. Beans are always served with pickles.
Mtsvadi made with pork
Pork Mtsvadi is especially tasty when it is roasted on vine branches.
Gebjalia - traditional dish from Samegrelo
Gebjalia is a traditional dish from Samegrelo and means “Made into milk”.
Pelamushi made with black grapes
Pelamushi originates in the western part of Georgia. You make it from a fresh grape juice.
Disocver one of the most popular dish in the western part of Georgia
Elarji is a traditional dish from Samegrelo, the western part of Georgia.
Chicken in blackberry sauce
Chicken in blackberry sauce is a traditional dish from Imereti, in the western part of Georgia. Sometimes they make it with Isrimi (a type of blackberry).
Chakapuli with lamb and wine
Chakapuli is a traditional Georgian dish. The Eastern feast should include Chakapuli as well.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
21.09.2018
22.09.2018
USD
1
USD
2.6193
2.6216
EUR
1
EUR
3.0693
3.0854
GBP
1
GBP
3.4651
3.4584
RUB
100
RUB
3.9538
3.9340
750ml
Kvevri
Zangaura  / 2015
19.90
750ml
Red Semi-Sweet
Schuchmann Wines  / 2015
23.95
750ml
White Dry
None  / 2016
18.30
Other Stories
Now everyone knows Khachapuri, popular cheese bread from Georgia, that has become a must dish in New York city.
There are several symbols that have become a part of Orthodox Easter celebration. Eggs dyed in red, frequently served on the wheat planted at home
Symbols of Easter and life itself, red eggs are one of the main attributes of the Easter table. They are dyed on Good Friday, the color representing
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.
All regions of Georgia stand out for their local delicious dishes and they make up the entire Georgian cuisine