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Sim-Sim is one of New York's rare Azerbaijani cafes, and just in case you've forgotten, Azerbaijan is an oil-rich former-Soviet republic in the Caucasus Mountains, a region sandwiched between Georgia and Iran. There are excellent charcoal-grilled kebabs, of course, of which our favorite is the ground-lamb lulya kebab, but also direct your attention to meal-size soups like dushbara, which immerses meat-stuffed dumplings in a mint-laced broth. The chicken tabaka ("road kill chicken") is available in a deluxe edition featuring a yogurt-garlic dipping sauce, and you can also score the legendary "jiz biz," a stir fry of French fries and random lamb organs, a favorite of the Organ Meat Society. Finally, find a novel slaw of green radish and shredded lamb tongue. Ouch!
The best soup this year was Caucasian - meaning it originated in the Caucasus Mountains. Dushanabe is a mint-flecked broth rife with wrinkled dumplings. At Cafe Sim-Sim, it comes with a tiny pitcher of crushed garlic in vinegar - pour it in and swoon.
It's been a long time since there's been an Azerbaijani café in sleepy south Kensington. So when my friend Brian and I were bombing down Ditmas Avenue the other day and saw "Kavkaze" ("Caucasian") stenciled on a blue awning, we screeched to a... More »
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