Southern Brooklyn

Caucasus Garden: Kutabs – The Bite


Caucasus Garden Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn

Welcome back to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we’ll 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.

You gotta love our neighborhood! You can sample just about the entire world’s cuisine and still never leave Sheepshead Bay. This week we move on from our Eastern European foods and friends and head over to Azerbaijan for kutabs. Never heard of kutabs? Neither had I. But that’s the beauty of our ‘hood; new and exciting foods call from almost every corner.

Kutabs are thin flour pancakes, pan fried in butter and sprinkled with sumac. They come stuffed with meat or spinach and greens. At Caucasus Garden, they have mastered both versions.

Caucasus Garden offers a “meat” kutab, which is stuffed with a ground meat that is incredibly tender and mild in flavor, but left my dining companion and I unable to distinguish its origin. This was mystery meat of the highest caliber to be sure, but what was it?  “Lamb of course,” exclaimed our stunned waitress when asked.  This was the mildest lamb I’ve ever had in my life. I would have bet a fairly large sum of money that it was pork, but I’ll take her word for it.

The “greens” kutab was stuffed with one of the most flavorful combinations of chopped greens I have ever tasted. My first thought was that the greens would be very similar to spanakopita, where spinach is the dominant ingredient, but the flavor of the greens was much more complex and varied. In a kutab, each green is chopped so finely that it is almost impossible to discern the individual components.

The blend here is finely chopped spinach, parsley, dill and a little green onion that provided a bite. I’m sure there were others in there, but that’s what I picked out in the mix. So, scratching our heads, we once again turned to our waitress for an explanation. “All the green vegetables are included,” she said. I got the impression that if you made this at home, the “greens” would be whatever you had on hand  in your kitchen.

The kutabs, $2 each, are served with baklijan (an eggplant and garlic with sour cream dipping sauce) that we drizzled over each piece. It gave the meat kutab some needed seasoning, but it was unnecessary on the greens. Next time I go, I may slather on the dip and make a wrap out of each kutab.

Now, I hear some of you saying  that kutabs are Turkish in origin, and that may be true, as Caucasus Garden claims it serves “Turkish and American” foods, but I give them to Azerbaijan. Since Azerbaijani culture and language is largely Turkic in origin, it’s not surprising that its cuisine also carries a strong Turkish influence.

So why do I give kutabs to Azerbaijan? Because only the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan provides a definition of kutabs; not Turkey. Let the debate begin.

Caucasus Garden, 2715 Avenue U, (718) 769-7003.

Caucasus Garden on Urbanspoon

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  1. must be a new place, never heard of it, may be will give it a try. baku & apsheron are still the best places for Caucasus food.

  2. I will shed tears for kutabs and bowl of doha. I was born in Baku and my childhood memories filled with kutabs.
    Btw their is no way they are ever made with pork.

    Oh kutabs, I heart you so much… Must visit Caucasus Garden.
    Azerbaijani food is fantastic. You just have to know what to order and it has to be cooked skillful (just like every great cuisine). If that place any good, try many different dishes. Personally, I can’t see how you can go wrong with anything with eggplant in it.

  3. The red sauce, whatever it is, is spicy and adds to the kabobs.
    Of which the meat is lean and marinated. Yummy. Never did get to stay for desert.LOL
    The meal with and appetizer is very filling.
    I don’t care where good food comes from, just lead me to it.

  4. P.S. I would think if it was Turkish the sauce would be from plain yogurt.
    I had a Turkish friend whose Mom made yogurt by the gallons and used it from breakfast until midnight snack in different dishes.

  5. Hey Faba, iam from Baku also! Maybe we know each other somehow. I love kutabs and I cant wait to go try out this place. Thanks Ned for bringing some light to this place and honoring Azeri’s as the originators of this dish. Hey Faba would you like to go on a date, 25/M/burly&hairy

  6. Sure, 30/m/hairy, built like Brad Pitt (Fight Club) except exact opposite.
    We can have romantic dinner, eat Kutabs, drink wine. I will bring you flowers and you will tell me how nice they smell. Then we can go for a walk on the bay and share intimate stories about our lives. By the end of the night we will hold hands. I will take you home and we will have gentle kiss goodnight, I will ask you out for a second date.
    Second date will be just as romantic. We will do blow, pop some vicodins, and finger each other assholes.

  7. This place is the best!! they have amazing french fries and the best salads. they also have one of the best breads i have ever tasted in a restaurant

  8. Very, very strict woman. No work that needed to be was demeaning to
    her, she got the job done.
    A woman and a lady. Did I say strict?

  9. i went to visit Caucasus Garden last week , the food is great you should check it out. They just expanded too


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