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Georgian food arrives in Manhattan, bringing delicious cheese bread

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Craving a new culinary experience in Manhattan? Oda House (76 Ave. B, at 5th St.; 212-353-3838) with its ethnic Georgian fare may be just the place for you. We're talking cuisine originating in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, not the southern state known for its Southern comfort food, but you'll surely find both equality comforting.

Having just opened its doors during the summer of 2013 in Manhattan's eclectic East Village neighborhood, Oda House fits rights in. After all, it’s the first Georgian restaurant in the neighborhood (second in the borough, the first being Pepela in Midtown East) although the cuisine is no stranger to Brooklyn, where it has gained much popularity, especially in the widely Russian-speaking neighborhoods of southern Brooklyn.

Oda House is a cozy little restaurant, popular during dinner-time, and especially weekends when a Georgian folk band fills the air with live music. Lunchtime is fairly quiet and you can expect to meet at least one of the co-owners, who’s keen to strike a conversation and introduce you to the little-known Eastern European country. Expect a half hour wait, especially if you’re orders Khachapuri during lunchtime (apparently it takes some time for the bread oven to heat up).

What kind of dishes can you expect to taste at Oda House? Here you'll find dishes like the flatbread and cheese favorite, Adjaruli Khachapuri ($16), which is a crusty, oblong crouissant-like bread on the outside, gooey on the inside, oozing with salty melted fondue-like Sulguni cheese in the center, topped with a poached egg, and a stick of butter, that’s meant to be mixed altogether. (Don't worry, the waiter will show you how it's done).

There’s are also the popular Georgian soup dumplings, Khinkali ($7 - $10), with fillings such as lamb, cheese, or mushroom, sprinkled with black pepper, and eaten by taking one bite and then sucking the meaty juices out. And if you’re craving something meaty, try the Lula Kebab ($13, $16), which is grilled with cranberries and fresh herbs and served with mashed potatoes and traditional Georgian sauce. Do wash your meal down with a Georgian wine, served in traditional clay cups. You won’t be disappointed!

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