Supra: A Georgian Feast

This past weekend was a busy one. We will go weeks (or months) without spending any time in D.C., and then suddenly there’s a weekend like this one where we can’t get enough of the District. This past Friday we went to Supra, D.C.’s first Georgian restaurant with a group of friends and future colleagues.

This outing was not just to sample the culinary creations of Georgia (the country, guys, not the state), it was also a chance for everyone (except me) to practice their Georgian language skills, and a chance to prime our palate for our next overseas excursion.

Yes. We are going to Tbilisi, Georgia this summer for our second two-year tour.

But more on that later. This post is about Supra.

Supra, in Georgian, means two different things (as helpfully defined on the restaurant’s website). First, it’s a traditional tablecloth which can be found in Republic of Georgia. Second, supra means a Georgian feast featuring an abundance of food, wine, and toasts. Supra D.C. embodies both meanings of the word.

The decor is a mix of traditional Georgian, modern, and generally homey and welcoming. Their menu is easy to follow, and is organized how a traditional Georgian feast would usually unfold. Hot and cold starters and khachapuri (salty, cheesy bread), followed by kebabs, khinkali (dumplings), and finally, larger plates to share.

Obviously we wanted to eat everything.

Georgian food is a friendly option for the  first timer or beginner foodie. Garlic, walnuts, and cilantro are predominant flavors. There’s also a welcoming mix of vegetarian and meat lovers options to balance the menu and accommodate most anyone.

My obvious favorite from what we tried – and we tried a lot – was the khachapuri. I’d had khachapuri a few times in Dushanbe, but anyone who knew Georgian food told me it was never quite right. “Real” khachapuri is absolutely delicious. Think a thin pizza pie with no sauce and crust on both sides. Then turn up the salt factor. It’s delicious. Some variations have spinach, pork, beans, or an egg on top. I also really enjoyed the tasting board which gave us a chance to try several different vegetable pates, the famous walnut paste, and a variety of Georgian cheeses.

Knowing this food will be a predominant part of our food life for two years puts my mind a bit more at ease. It’s tasty, not overly unhealthy, and not strenuous on the palate. We can live there.

And I haven’t event mentioned the wine.

During Sean’s crash course in Georgian, he learned a lot about the unique way Georgians craft their wine. Georgia is one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world, and their method yields some truly unique results. Traditional Georgian wine making uses the kvevri, a large clay pot, for fermentation. The grapes are pressed and the juice is poured into the kvevri, along with the grape skins, stalks, and pips, which is then buried and left to ferment for at least five to six months.

The addition of the skins, stalks, and pips yields some interesting results, including white wine that takes on an amber color and is more acidic than you would expect. Georgian wines are classified as sweet, semi-sweet, semi-dry, dry, fortified, and sparkling, with the semi-sweet varieties are the most popular. This Riesling lover clearly has some experimenting to do.

I think we’ll do just fine in Tbilisi.

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