A taste of Georgia in Alphabet City
Oda House is one of two Georgian restaurants in Manhattan, and a more convenient trip for most than south Brooklyn's Georgian community.
The most fun of your khachapuri options, boat-shaped and filled to bursting with mozzarella for gooeyness and feta for tang. Just before the bread hits your table they add a raw egg, which you stir into the cheese and devour before the thing has a chance to set. The bread itself is especially nice, browned with an egg wash and flavorful beyond its cheesy payload.
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Proper cheese goo
Khachapuri can also be made with beans or corn, as is the case with Oda House's chvishtari, a more subtly cheesy corn cake served with walnut sauce. It's worth an order for that walnut sauce alone, which you should keep close as more courses arrive, or save for using at home. The thin pureée of walnuts, water, and spices is rich but clean, and like good butter or olive oil, it goes with pretty much everything. Fortunately you can have it in many forms at Oda House.
The corn flour and gooey cheese form a creamy, almost custard-like center.
Pkhali Trio ($12)
Of the three mashed vegetable spreads, only the eggplant with walnuts and pomegranate (center) is memorable.
These pork and beef dumplings are the Georgian equivalent of Chinese xiao long bao, and though they are impressively juicy, they're also short on flavor.
The small dish of too-boiled catfish disappoints its bright herb, garlic, and vinegar sauce
A stew with elements familiar (lamb stewed with mint and wine) and not (the dominant herb is tarragon, the wine is white). The lamb in the soup is gorgeously tender and the broth is infused with a complex anise sweetness.
Herbs also play a strong role in a dish of roasted game hen with thyme and garlic, though the poultry's juices threaten to soften its crackly skin.
The vegetarian main on the menu: a cute crock of beans topped with cornbread.
The pinto beans inside are nicely creamy, but underseasoned, a common problem with proteins at Oda House.
Oda House's menu is short on pickled things, so this collection of garlic, cucumbers, green tomatoes, and cabbage added a nice touch.
Walnut Cake ($9)
A subtle dessert well worth ordering; its delicate, not too sweet crumb is moistened by a frosting of puréed walnuts and condensed milk. Oda House offers outdoor seating, and come autumn weather, the cake will be just the thing to take outside with a cup of coffee.
When the dining room fills up, it gains the feeling of a Georgian social club. Oda House is more than a restaurant—it's become a de facto hub for New York's Georgian community—that is, the ones who don't live in south Brooklyn.
The window seats offer a more modern, cafe ambiance.