Monday, February 14, 2011

Georgian Bread (or, How I Made Everyone Love Me at the Super Bowl Party)

While I've tried two of the established Georgian restaurants in Brooklyn (Pirosmani and Tbilisi), the omission of Georgian Bread, a tiny bakery on Neptune Avenue in Brighton Beach serving khachapouri, haunted me. Yes, I'm at that point in my life where I'm haunted by places I need to eat at...

A video shot in the bakery posted on Chowhound convinced me that I could wait no longer. I invited my friend Liz, who at this point may think I only talk her because she speaks fluent Georgian, to come along. We also met up with Robyn and Alex for lunch before the Super Bowl. Robyn also took all the wonderful pictures below.

I anticipated the bakery would be small, but you don't get a feel for the size of the place until ten people are crammed into the tiny counter area. The old baker runs the store with his assistant. In between placing loaves in the tandoori oven, the baker takes peoples orders and gives change with cracked, flour covered hands. There's a small refrigerator case with dips (according to liz these are called pkhali) and a shelf with various condiments.

We were of course here for khachapouri, but had to wait a little while for a fresh batch. To soften the blow, Liz, who we completely relied on, ordered a fresh loaf of bread as well as a couple of spreads. As I've previously described, these loaves look like a baguette that swallowed a football. They are excellent.

Spinach dip (espanakhi pkhali), was essentially boiled, chopped spinach and a load of garlic. Somehow it transcended those two ingredients, resulting in an incredibly snackable spread.

Eggplant, badrjani phkali, tasted like babaganoush. It was good, but needed a bit more salt.

Finally, after checking in with the baker, our khachapouri were ready. Steaming hot, the dark edges of the khachapouri made for the best bites-- slightly crunchy but with an overwhelming amount of fresh farmer's cheese oozing from the sides.

Robyn's khachapouri money shot:

Liz also convinced me to pick up some adjika, basically a "chilly sauce." This is my photo-- clearly much shittier than Robyn's. Adjika is salty, spicy and provides a fresh hit of heat when added to a dish.

Planning ahead, I took two more khachapouri home with me to show off at my cousin's Super Bowl party. Even reheated, the khachapouri lost very little (except for the fact that the browned edges were now slightly less crispy). Either way, we ate both khachapouris and cleaned out the dips. Though everyone got at least a slice, I have to admit that I snuck an extra five or six.

I guess it was appropriate to bring khachapouri for the Super Bowl. I hate the Steelers, especially Ben Roethlisberger, with a passion-- so what evokes Wisconsin (and the Green Bay Packers) better than a bread filled with cheese and butter? In the end, the day was win win for me: amazing khachapouri plus a Steelers loss.

Georgian Bread
265 Neptune Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 332-8082 
Georgian Bread on Urbanspoon

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