Following Jim Strains advice, I took my parents to this gem of a Russian/Georgian restaurant in North Park while I was in town. Its a very eclectic room with graffiti by patrons all over the walls and ceiling! and lots of novelty strings of lights (my favorite since it was completely out of place was the one with the Coca Cola polar bears).
When I called to make a reservation (unneeded since the place is totally empty), I engaged in an interesting conversation.
Katya (me): Id like to make a reservation.
Bizarre Phone Answerer (imagine a thick Russian accent): I see. Are you good people or lousy people?
Katya: Ummmm lous er, good people.
BPA: Thats too bad. I have a table available for lousy people.
The menu has a similar strange sense of humor that obviously someone had a good time writing. Some of my favorite excerpts:
Chicken Tabaka You'll have to allow about 20 minutes for us to catch a chicken first.
Jon's Soup: A reflection of Jon's mood. Seasonally adjusted to the Tbilisi stock exchange.
Toad Sweat Ice Cream: Not for the faint of heart!
We didnt try the toad sweat ice cream but I am still intrigued.
We started with an order of $7.25 potato and onion varenniki accompanied by sour cream, which were very similar to Polish pierogies (potato dumplings), and were my parents favorite dish of the night. My favorite was the $5.50 Georgian green salad. Nothing like a regular salad, this was a platter of sliced pickles and tomatoes, and feta all covered in dill. The flavors were amazing.
Moving on to main courses, my dad loved his chanakhi, which was a $15.60 lamb stew. My mother and I shared an order of $16.50 beef stroganoff, in which the pasta and the stroganoff stew were presented separately. The flavors were rich, but quite good. We also shared the $12.50 chakhokbili, described on the menu as a chicken casserole. This was less a casserole and more a platter of dark meat chicken in roasting liquid with minced vegetables. The meat was so tender it pulled apart without any resistance. It was difficult for me to choose my favorite entrée between the beef stroganoff and the chakhokbili, but it was easy for my mother. She no longer wanted to share entrees once she had a couple bites of the stroganoff. She also enjoyed her $3.50 samovar tea served in a traditional Russian cup.
Our server was Latvian, very nice, and took my fathers good natured ribbing in stride. The only downside to dining here is that there is a 5% surcharge if you want to charge your meal (so be sure to bring cash!). Nevertheless, even before we finished eating we were already making plans to come back here for my next visit.
2302 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92104