Ella Bakh, owner of Dediko, prepares Georgian food with the heart of a chef and the eye of a florist. She serves kompot (fruit juice) in individual mason jars to show off cherries, strawberries and sliced plums bobbing around the bottom. She serves churchkhela, a traditional Georgian sweet made from grape juice, nuts and flour, in elegant petals instead of the long tapered, candle shapes that they can be found in her hometown of Tbilisi. Her Georgian Dip Tour with pkhali (dips) made from fresh vegetables, herbs and walnuts, served with a sampling of Georgian cheeses and lavash bread, is jewel box of colors.
Bakh hopes that customers will share their meals as Georgians do.
“We don’t like a fork and knife. We eat with our hands,” she explained. “We like to share. We all want to eat everything and I can’t eat it all by myself.”
The current menu at Dediko is short. Nick Bakh, Ella’s son and co-owner, designed it to be aesthetically pleasing but also easy to understand for customers new to Georgian food. Each heading has a pronunciation key and a brief description of the dish. The dumplings (khinkali) and bread boats (khachapuri) will be most recognizable to those who have noticed the Georgian trend in the United States.
The khinkali dumplings are traditionally eaten by grabbing the top knot, flipping over the entire dumpling then taking a small bite to suck out the soup broth. The top knot is often left on the plate because the dough can be tough, but at Dediko the dough is light and silky — easily eaten and hard to leave behind on the plate.
Kachapuri are baked-to-order boat-shaped breads with various toppings. The Adjaruli kachapuri with fresh cheese, butter and an egg is best conquered by swirling the egg, cheese and butter into a rich sauce with a fork and then sopping that up with pieces of bread torn from the edges. Traditional Georgian Sulguni cheese is featured along with two other cheeses that Bakh intends to keep top secret.