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Georgian Cuisine

Oda House interior

New York is unique in many ways, but  the diversity of its residents may be one of the most important ways. This city has drawn immigrants from all over the world for centuries, and one of the lasting legacies of this is the immense diversity of the city’s food scene. One example of this unparalleled variety is located on the corner of avenue B and 5th street. Oda House is one of a very small number of Georgian restaurants, and I think it’s best to clarify that I am referring to the county located in the Caucasus and not the American state of the same name.

Khinkali - beef and pork dumplings

Georgian cuisine, while relatively unknown in the United States, has a considerable reputation elsewhere in the world. In Russia and other countries with closer contact with Georgia there is great respect and admiration for Georgian food and Georgian wines, which are often considered luxury items. My friends and I tried to order several appetizers and different entrees in order to best sample the sort of food offered at Oda House. For appetizers we ordered Qindzmari, boiled catfish in a cilantro, garlic, and vinegar sauce which was very flavorful and hearty; Khinkali, beef & pork dumplings which were well seasoned and very elegant; and also Megruli, a sort of cheese bread that looked a lot like a personal pizza and consisted of a mixture of Georgian cheeses. For entrees the party ordered Chashushuli (veal in a vegetable sauce), Chakapuli (seared lamb also In a vegetable sauce), and finally Chanakhi (lamb in a sauce of several herbs).

Megruli - cheese bread

Each dish was very sharable, presented on separate plates and with serving spoons, making the restaurant a good location for a group of friends. The restaurant has a pleasant atmosphere, its lively but was not overly crowded on a Friday night, and possesses minimal decorations to remind you that you are in a non-western restaurant. Most dishes have meat, and many also have nuts, but there is sufficient variety to meet most dietary restrictions and still enjoy the unique flavors. The restaurant was reasonably prices with entrees about $20 and well portioned appetizers about $10 a piece. Overall I would recommend the restaurant to anyone who is interested in experience the somewhat uncommon, but not particularly unusual and highly diverse and rich cuisine of Georgia.

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