Six of us ate at Chaihanna last night, and had a grand ol' time. Not as grand as the big party in the back of the room, perhaps, but terrific food, I'll be back, I might even try to GNR the place.
We ordered a bunch of appetizers:
Lepeshki: A bread that looks like a sesame bialy with a pituitary condition -- thin in the middle and puffy around the edges
Spicy Eggplant: more of a way to use eggplant to deliver garlic than anything else. Fantastic. Nice slices of eggplant with oily chopped garlic on top. Tasted very strongly of garlic. Garlic was prevalent. Eat if you like garlic. Garlic garlic garlic.
Beef blintzes: A bizarre concept to me -- I've only had fruit, cheese and potato in the past, but delicious. Fine-ground beef and onions in a three large blintzes, served with sour cream.
Meat manti: May have been lamb in this, or part lamb, diced not ground. Closer to a large dumpling, I've made these from Routhier's "Cooking Under Wraps" and these are similar. Middle-eastern seasonings, butter-cooked dumplings, also served with sour cream. I liked the blintzes a little better.
Sour spinach soup: a little borscht-like, not as sour but excellent flavor.
Mushroom soup: great chicken stock and lots of mushrooms made for an outstanding soup.
I had the Chicken Tabaka (or Chicken Chewbacca as it became known to our science-fiction loving group). As described above, another garlic delight. Meat was moist but not greasy, with crisp skin.
MrsF had beef pilaf, which was a bit of a disappointment, as she was expecting something more like a piece of slow-cooked beef on top of the pilaf, rather than small crispy bits within it. Tasty, but inelegant.
Others at the table had the "rabit in white souse" and kabobs. Everyone agreed it was a place worth returning to.
A bottle of Georgian wine ("Expensive" said the waitress, at $28) was interesting: a little sweet-and-sour flavor to it, light and pleasant.
Desserts were a "spiral beignet" (essentially a funnel cake) and the chak-chak. I thought it was like if a rice crispie treat and baklava had a baby. It was nicknamed "Cracker chak-chak" which might be a closer description. They also serve great tea.
Service was fine -- perhaps a bit on the slow side, and dishes did not all come out at once, but not so far apart that we were upset. The waitress' heavily-accented english was sufficient-enough to get us through some of the odd items on the menu.
Note: Next door is about to open "Pho U Asian Noodles"
What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
-- Lin Yutang