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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Discover Pepela, Manhattan's first Georgian restaurant

10.04.2013. With its understated exterior, Pepela can easily be mistaken for another inaccessible New York City townhouse. Once you make your way through the entrance (don't be scared, you're not breaking and entering), you'll be thankful you didn't pass it by.  The classy and spacious maisonette is actually the first Georgian restaurant in Manhattan. We couldn't believe it either, but it's true! Pepela offers the perfect balance of opulence, intimacy and comfort, with their grandiose chandeliers, chic and calmly lit interior, and their über-friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating staff; you'll be sure to feel right at home.

Aside from the awesome staff and decor, Pepela, above all, offers authentic, homemade (close to it, anyway) Georgian cuisine, wines, and cocktails. Some of our favorites from the menu include khachapuri, a Georgian flat cheese bread ($15) and the chikhirtma soup, a yogurt-based soup with cilantro, fresh greens, and chicken breast ($9). A great wine to pair with dinner is the Orovela Mtsvane Rkatsiteli 2007, a Georgian white wine ($12 per glass) or our new favorite liquor, chacha, Georgia's national hard liquor. Be sure to try the Georgian favorite, Chacha Pom, which consists of chacha, pomegranate juice, orange liquor, and lemon juice. Owner, Gabriel says chacha is comparable to a hybrid of vodka and brandy and promises that its consumption will not result in even the slightest hangover. Upon our next visit, we'll be sure to put his claim to the test.

To ensure that no patron is in complete culture shock, Pepela's menu also offers American food though you're going to want to indulge in the dishes prepared with savory Georgian spices. French, Italian, and Australian wines, as well as standard cocktails are also served.

We got the overwhelming sense that the staff at Pepela are happy if their patrons are happy. To say the least, we certainly left happy and heartily satisfied, with a new found appreciation for Georgian cuisine and a new favorite cocktail!

Pepela is located at 104 E. 30th Street between Lexington and Park Avenues.

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