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Restaurants & Bars

Azerbaijan- Chowfind

Vinnie (Benny) Vidimangi | May 2, 2005 12:20 AM

Azerbaijan
378 Wilson Ave West
North side Wilson west of Bathurst
416-378-7361

This place was previously known as Sardab and was Persian. I never went there even though it was highly recommended by my Iranian movers. The menu is now half Persian, half Azerbaijani. Persian items on the menu are natural. Azetc. is largely Muslim and shares its southern border with Iran.

Azetc has Armenia (now) on its west, the Caspian Sea on its east and Georgia and Russia on its north.

We limited ourselves to the Azetc items on the menu. My guess is that most of them are Aztec homecooking. We thought that the dishes were very good and remarkably refined for the cooking of a country that had been under Russian domination for a long time.

We have had,( and everything was to our taste good to excellent):
-cold sorrel soup (I know something like this as schav) but with the Russian touch that is as omnipresent as the KGB was -dill.
Delicious, can't wait for summer.
-beef borscht. Borscht may be their bad transalation or may be generic for soup. This one was a beef based vegatable soup and very good and refined, but of course flavourful. As if a good mainstrean restaurant went ethnic that night.
- a crepe- taco thing (three to a portion)
- big meat dumplings (sort of like manchi or whatever)
served with a delicious and complex dipping sauce.
-Lamb liver kebob on rice. The liver was cooked hard- I will ask them to ease up next time. It had lamb fat between the pieces, and it really worked. Grilled on charcoal I think, not too heavy the charcoal taste.
-Pickling which seems to be complimentary with the kebobs. Ask. I really liked the pickled plum.
-onion and tomato "kebob"
- pita. weak. Don't be shy about sending them back and asking them to put it on the grill to resurrect them a bit.
- one each of the two baked things one of which was termed "baclava". It is not they they were bad, they weren't. But for us there was no real pleasure in them. They reminded me of clumsy Slavic home baking from a home where they have good intentions but don't know how to bake. We won't ask for these again. It seems that Azetc has a developed soup culture not a baking culture.
-What are described as jams and are really preserves. We had figs and cranberries(separate not combined) Delicious. And perfect with the delicious
- tea. I have to find out what kind it is or how they do it or whatever that makes it so tasty.

We will return and will make our way through the menu. They have some dishes that require a reasonable reach for the kitchen, for example a tabac (flattened butterfly) chicken and a fancy stuffed chicken. Particularly the latter you may have to pre-order.

Prices are low, I forget how much but there is no point in posting them because the reader would not know what they would get for the money.

Portions are ample. My suggestion is to plan on sharing everything that you order, Much of the cooking lends itself to sharing.

We didn't have wine. It was some Italian plonk. But for $5 (I think) they give you a big and full glass. Vodka available by the "pint" and up.

The owner is Azetc. His English is much better than his waitress', but this is not saying much. However she is much more attractive. The two of them are very friendly. To the customers I mean. The menu is in Azetc but has pictures and a brief description of the dish. The description is the equivalent of going to say Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and having the menu say " piece of meat with potato". If neither of them can explain the dish, they get one of the other customers to explain.

Very worthwhile cooking and very pleasant- no violence here in the cooking. If someone in the party doesn't feel adventuresome at all they can have a Persian kebob. Cheap but generous portions.
A Chowfind.

V(B)VM
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