25 October 2011

Mtskheta Cafe

GEORGIA

Mtskheta, and its improbable row of uninterrupted consonants, takes its name from one of the Republic of Georgia's oldest cities, most famous for some ancient monuments that are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While this modest restaurant on a busy intersection crawling with construction vehicles will not be making any heritage lists, the food here is very worthy of noting.


A very important bit of information for this place is that they do not have an English menu, and this could pose certain difficulties for non-Russian speaking groups unfamiliar with what dishes to order. The server seemed happy to make some recommendations, but I have a feeling the best options might stay hidden with this method. Come prepared with some choices and verse yourself in the cuisine of Georgia before arriving, as it will help.

A couple up-sells that are worth having (although possibly too much for just two people) are the Georgian salad ($7.50, below) and lavash ($2.50, below), which is a basket of very delicious bread. A large table could handle this basket, but it has a lot of density.


For our first visit here, Noah and I went with a couple tried and true favorites and another dish that was new to us. Both of us are slaves to khachapuri ($8, below) and quickly ordered it up. The typically Georgian cheese bread here is more cheese than bread and comes sliced into four wedges. It was certainly no best khachapuri, but we did not have a problem finishing it.


New to us was the kupati ($13.95, below), a plate of sizzling beef and pork sausages that comes out crackling like a plate of Tex-Mex fajitas. They are served with a side of rather useless and bland tomato sauce, but are bursting with flavor themselves and do not need it.


 A closer look at the kupati.

When I traveled to Georgia, a favorite pastime of the locals, and then eventually myself, was scarfing down a plate of khinkali with beer. The neighborhood delis on this corner of Brooklyn are not exactly bursting with delicious beers, or even Russian beers, but we grabbed some and did as we were supposed to. Khinkali ($9, below) come as a plate of six, and are really good. We discussed the relevance of a soup dumpling face-off with Chinese xiao long bao, as these are filled with a superb broth and hunk of beef.


The restaurant is quite deep into Brooklyn, as the D train is making its final turn towards Coney Island right above the place, but grab a group of friends and make this a trip. Disappointment is not an option here, especially if you have a table full of people and food.

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