The Georgian man was already deep into his chacha brandy by the point he sashayed via the disco-lit shadows of the eating room at Georgian Bakery & Cafe. With shot glass in hand, he sidled as much as the desk of an Armenian pal and gave a speech toasting the friendship and solidarity of the former Soviet republics. They clinked glasses, linked ingesting arms, and downed their shots just because the band kicked in with a Georgian-language model of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” and a steamy plate of big khinkali dumplings landed on our desk.
Ever for the reason that collapse of the Soviet Union (and, indeed, for a while earlier than), the Previous World threads of its former republics have wound their manner right into a vibrant new tapestry across the Borscht Belt of Bustleton Avenue. A parade of crispy Ukrainian rooster Kievs bursting with garlic butter, zesty Uzbek kebabs, aromatic rice plots, Siberian pelmeni, and all method of caviar-topped Russian blini have been a flavorful fixture within the eating places and markets there for many years. Typically with a flooring present.
The presence of eating places serving the distinctive meals of Georgia, nonetheless, has been sporadic until only a few years in the past. Since then, not just one, however two bakeries with eating places hooked up have opened to characteristic the spectacular array of rectangular khachapuri cheese breads, bean pots, and walnut-thickened sauces which might be distinctive to the delicacies of this Caucasus nation, which despatched one other inflow of émigrés our manner after its armed battle with Russia a decade in the past.
A visit to the Caucasus awaits in an unlikely location, on the bottom of a Northeast Philly car parking zone throughout from a Home Depot. However step inside “Tengo” Okropilashvili’s sprawling restaurant and bakery, and also you’ll be surrounded by the real flavors of his native Georgia: rectangular shot pieces of bread baked in large “tone” flooring hearths, egg-topped khachapuri, spice-scented stews, bean pots, big broth-stuffed dumplings and walnut-sauced salads that make this delicacy distinctive. Come for the reside leisure on weekends when the BYO vodka- and chacha brandy-fueled crowds wish to stand up and dance their kebabs off.