NY Times on Georgian Restaurant Chama Mama in Chelsea

The NY Times has once again highlighted Georgian cuisine and this time the focus is Chama Mama, which opened in March 2019 in a lofty space in Chelsea, New York City. Chama Mama is said to bring humble Georgian culinary magic to America, with a focus on all things organic.

Tamara Chubinidze, who runs Chama Mama, feels proud to bring Georgian cuisine and with it, a dose of Georgian culture, to Chelsea. Adhering to the view that the best of pleasures in life are the simplest, Chama Mama’s chef, Nino Chiokadze, prepares Georgia’s favorite feel-good food with rustic simplicity.

Here is what Emon Hassan, writing for The New York Times, has to say about his experience of authentic Georgian dishes at Chama Mama:

“Ekala is a prickly climber akin to North American greenbrier, often dismissed as a troublemaking weed. At Chama Mama, ekala appears without fanfare. It simply takes its rightful place at the table, roughly chopped with a paste of walnuts and garlic: earthy and delicate.”

The author goes on to praise the walnut-paste-stuffed vegetables and lamb stew called Chakapuli, a "favorite dish of Stalin." The "Salt-cured Jonjoli (bladdernut flowers)," he says "has an interesting bitterish, yet paradoxically delicate taste".

Talking about Georgian creamy chicken-dish Shkmeruli, the author compliments the chef’s artistry: “For shkmeruli, a Cornish game hen is fried until the skin crisps, then traditionally submerged in milk heavy with garlic. Because American milk has less body, Ms. Chiokadze uses cream to give the dish the necessary lushness.”

No lesson in the complex art of Georgian cuisine is complete without Adjaruli Khachapuri, a molten cheese bread described in the article as Georgia’s “most brazenly rich offering”.

Georgians consider that ‘every guest is God-sent’ (Georgian proverb). Love and respect for guests are passed from one generation to another. Chama Mama invites its guests to the table in an effort to spread the charm of Georgian cuisine.

Read the full article here

By Elene Dzebisashvili

23 January 2020 12:11