Southern Brooklyn

Brooklyn Bread House: Khachapuri – The Bite

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Welcome back to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.

I really love the food scene in Sheepshead Bay. I don’t know of any other neighborhood that is as diverse as ours when it comes to food. Looking over the previous Bites, we’ve tasted food from almost every continent, from more than 20 different nations, and yet we’ve only traveled within two zip codes.

With so many delicious eats at our disposal, tell me, why is our food scene so overlooked by the “foodies” and the media? Ah, we’ll be doing something about that in the very near future.

This week, we head on over to The Brooklyn Bread House (1718 Jerome Avenue) for some khachapuri, or Georgian cheese bread. What’s khachapuri? Well, Charles Perry over at The LA Times calls it “the world’s most elaborate melted cheese sandwich.” I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it is a mighty fine cheese sandwich.

We picked up a loaf, for lack of a better descriptor, of the home-style round.  This large loaf of bread ($5), larger than a dinner plate, came freshly warm out of the oven with its inner layer of suluguni cheese still gooey. Suluguni cheese is a pickled Georgian cheese from the Samegrelo region. It can be made with cow, goat, buffalo or sheep’s milk, or a mix of all of them. It’s a slightly salty, slightly sour white cheese that makes me think of muenster. Suluguni is also known as — get ready for this — “pickle cheese.”

At Brooklyn Bread House, the home-style khachapuri is made with a light egg dough, very similar to challah, but not as sweet. This fluffy, mildly sweet bread provides an excellent contrast to the tang of the cheese. Add a bottle of wine, a little salad and this would make a wonderful picnic meal.

Khachapuri comes in all sorts of varieties, and I wish I could tell you their names. What I can tell you is that they offer cheese, cheese and spinach, meat, Adgarskii and home-style round.

The Brooklyn Bread House, does not provide full English translations on its menus and most of their signage is in Russian. Frankly, that pisses me off. When I bought the khachapuri, I was lucky. It was one of the few times that I’ve ever seen the store empty. This allowed me to ask the counter girl questions about what was being offered from behind the glass case. But, after my fourth or fifth “What’s that?” I could tell I was quickly wearing out my welcome.

I’m fairly adventurous when it comes to food. I’ll try anything once or twice, even if I don’t know what it is,  but c’mon folks. Aren’t you in business? Don’t you want to attract as many people as possible? Putting up signs in only a foreign language immediately reduces the number of potential customers.  Put up some English signs. It’ll be good for business and good for the Bay.

Brooklyn Bread House, 1718 Jerome Avenue, (718) 714-9084.

Brooklyn Bread House on Urbanspoon

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