3 July 2013
Back in NYC…so you think I’m a tough kid? Nope…still recovering from the excellent trip to Montréal, especially the fabulous food there. Too much good stuff, the reckless abandon…
As I left Canada during Canada Day weekend, I land back in NYC just as 4th of July week was approaching. Everything is slow this week, as the holiday rests on a Thursday (and US markets closed early Wednesday also) and many left NYC by Tuesday night. I, however, stayed in town and wanted to try out a new Georgian restaurant in Manhattan that a friend on Twitter had told me about.
So I decided to meet another friend of mine there later that Wednesday evening. I went early for some wine (I totally LOVE Georgian wine), as he was still busy finishing up at his office. The ease that I caught a cab in the pouring rain told me lots of people had left town…
Got to Oda House in the Lower East Side, a rather unpretentious and relaxing place. I took up a spot at the bar and the friendly atmosphere immediately took me. I know I’m gonna like this. I love Georgian food, but not when it’s in a crap place — like my Montréal experience with Le Georgia. But this place I can see myself frequenting.
I enjoyed a few glasses of saperavi (საფერავი), a nice red, whilst chatting with some very nice people at the bar. We talked Georgia, from politics to cuisine…and the time just flew by. My friend had arrived and we adjourned to a table.
We caught up with our own conversations over a bottle of saperavi and ordered several dishes. The restaurant was decently busy, which is good — and mostly non-Georgians. That’s always a good sign on viability, and I really hope this place does well in the longer run.
Though we ordered courses, all the stuff came out in one go — no biggie. It worked well all together in any case. My starter was the tolma (ტოლმა)…
Now every country in the old wine-loving world from the Caucasus to the Peloponnesus has their version of this dish, using the grape leaf to its advantage. This version was stuffed with meat, very tasty snacks.
The main course was the chakapuli (ჩაქაფული), a stewed lamb dish. Excellent flavours, favouring the tarragon certainly. With a side of bread and wine, this is a great dish to mop up with the bread.
My friend was pretty tired after flying back into NYC this afternoon, so we just had more wine and called it a night. But the simple but solid food here, plus the convivial atmosphere and friendly people, will make me come back here often. I’d love to try out more of the menu, especially as the kitchen gets into a groove. A very welcome addition to Manhattan dining.
76 Avenue B
New York, NY