Just a little rundown of the 3 restaurants I have tried. :) First of all my interest in Georgian food was piqued when I found myself reading this food blog: http://georgianrecipes.net I seriously wanted to EAT ALL THE THINGS. Especially khachapuri ajarian (http://georgianrecipes.net/2013/03/29...) and chicken tabaka (http://georgianrecipes.net/2014/04/04...). :O~~~ So I went looking for restaurants... but so many leads led to closed restaurants. T.T Finally Uncle's Backyard (Dyadin Dvor?) (http://www.mydyadindvor.com/) seemed to have both the items I was looking for, so off I went!
The hours are supposed to be 11a-whenever, so I arrived at 11:30a on a weekend. I went in and the waitress/hostess, seeming quite embarassed, informed me that the chef was not in yet. "Uh, when will he be here? >.>" "I don't know since he was supposed to be here an hour ago D:" welp. I went out and killed some time and fortunately when I got back he was in. Yay! And then I was looking at the menu and they didn't have the chicken tabaka anymore! Boo! Actually a lot of menu items are crossed out. >.>;;; OH WELL. (I'm not sure if the website menus are up to date; menupages is totally not, though.)
I wound up getting:
khachapuri adjarian w/ 2 eggs ($7.75)- this dissappointed me a little; the flavor was not quite what I expected and the eggs were wholly raw (would have preferred that the whites were set and the yolk still raw but I guess I could request that if I ever order it again). I don't know what cheese they used, though. OTOH it was massive, like the footprint of a football. If you like this then you will be pleased to have so much of it. It was kind of difficult to eat because the cheese/eggs were so liquid and if you're breaking off bits of bread to sop it up it will all ooze out at some point???
borsh beet soup w/beef, vegetables ($5.50) - very good! I hadn't had much experience with borsh before, it was very flavorful and filling. Big portion, too. Half the khachapuri adjarian and this and some people could call it a day. (I had leftovers.)
lamb baked with mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes & cheese - I don't know how this was described on the menu as they don't seem to have it anywhere, but it was very good.
SECOND VISIT QUITE A BIT LATER:
kharcho classic Georgian soup w/beef, rice & spices ($5.50) - found it kind of bland in comparison to the borsh.
khachapuri with cheese ($2) - a much smaller and more manageable item, don't remember how well I liked it though.
julienne baked mushrooms in heavy cream ($6.25) - actually another dish I really wanted to try though by this point I'd already had it somewhere else; I think their rendition miiiiiight have been a bit bland. But I might be confusing them with the first place I tried this.
Verdict: still a reccomend but don't go too early on weekends. >.> Interior looks like a tiki place, though (that backyard theme, I guess). Kind of weird.
Second restaurant, 3 visits (first visit was between the 2 times I went to Uncle's Backyard): Uzbekistan (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chaikha...)
Solyanka kielbasa mix, black olives, potatoes ($5.99) - REALLY GOOD. Served with sour cream. Er, it's a soup, btw. Nice hits of sour and savory.
Chef Special Moscow Style Fish filet bass baked with mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes & cheese ($14.99) - note how this is prepared the exact same way as the lamb at UB (actually I copypastaed the description from here) which I was not actually expecting. XD Also very tasty!
Bread our famous homemade tandoori bread ($2.00) - nice and fresh
Julienne mushrooms baked with cheese ($5.19) - like I said, I'm not sure if this was good or bland. >.>;;;
Olivie Salad russian style potato salad with chicken meat, pickles, cucumbers, carrots ($5.49) - this is another dish I wanted to try (independently of the georgian recipe blog) because it is apparently iconic even in it's degraded form, but... it's just a potato salad, really. >.>
Chahohbili georgian style chicken stew ($6.49) - REALLY GOOD :O~~~ Uses little wing drumsticks, I guess? Bone-in and skin-on. Not very much liquid.
Honey Cake (?) - very tasty, not expensive, and a pretty big portion (I took most of it home and it was still good when I got around to it).
THIRD VISIT: the other two times I came for lunch; this time I came for dinner on a weeknight with company without making a reservation ahead of time. MAKE A RESERVATION. Supposedly the indoor seating was all reserved so they seated us in the back in a tent with a heater that was only semi-efficient. It was like November and cold. (OK, I guess you'd be safe in summer, but it might be even more busy at that point.)
Anyway, this time I got the fish again which was consistently tasty, and my friend got the chahohbili which was also consistently tasty. Oh yeah, we ordered compot (russian style fruit punch), this was tasty.
Verdict: eat here. BTW it looks like it's a converted house, kind of traditional looking but not stuffy. Blaring europop (and a-pop) though. >.>;;; BTW their physical menu claimed they had khachapuri (adjarian?) if you call ahead for it; this is a lie.
Oasis Restaurant (http://www.oasisrestaurantphila.com/): FINALLY A PLACE WITH CHICKEN TABAKA I called to confirm!!!
First visit: I arrived on a weekend at lunch time; they could not seat me (without me having made a reservation) because they were accomodating banquet parties, whoops. (They said this is common for lunch on weekends.) But they said I could do takeout. They gave me a complimentary glass of kompot (tasty--actually the first time I had it) while I waited. :) Interior has not that much space in the initial room but I think there's an additional dining room (still under construction, maybe? This was previously a different eastern european restaurant... with like the same menu....) The menu is in russian (er, I assume) with english descriptions.
Mushroom "Julienne" ($5.99) - came in a massive aluminum tray! Very tasty.
Solyanka (thick, spicy and sour soup with smoked meat and pickled cucumbers) ($6.99) - also good.
Small whole chicken fried in garlic ($11.99) - this is the chicken tabaka. I just went to my car and ate the whole thing. (I'd pick korean fried chicken over this but it is indeed tasty!)
Second visit: weekday lunch. I called ahead to reserve the quail (there are a bunch of menu items that they ask you to call ahead for). Give them an hour.
Mushroom Julienne - tasty again, but smalling serving than when I got it for takeout. XD I wonder if the takeout was the usual takeout size?
Lamb rib shish-kebab ($3.99) - I think it was this I got... anyway, it was tasty meat on a stick. Came with a pot of a tangy bbq sauce (essentially), green (pickled?) tomato slice, and a pickled cucumber, I think.
Baked quail (2 pieces) ($10.99) - REALLY GOOD. Comes stuffed with a rice pilaf with mushrooms and raisins on a bed of roasted sweet peppers drizzled with a raspberry sauce. First encounter with quail btw. After my second encounter I'm beginning to think ppl just use quail like it's the tortilla for their meat burrito.
VERDICT: Great place! Make reservations. Or just get takeout, you might get even more food that way. XD Lots of offerings (needing to be ordered in advance) unfortunately are like for banquets, practically, inclding the khachapuri (10 pieces!?) and the chahohbili (for 5!) If you have the power (or just the company) to resolve that, then great. XD
I'm CJK asian, btw. The clientelle seemed mostly/all eastern european. This cuisine deserves to be more popular imo, and all three restaurants have generous serving sizes (well, it's not CC). Little concerned for Uncle's Backyard's business, both times I went there might have been one other party there the while I was eating. Hope they get more of a dinner crowd.