Friday, April 8, 2011

This restaurant really has balls!

By Alex Rush

You’ve really got to have guts to try the balls at this restaurant!

A plate of lamb testicles is one of the best dishes served at Caucasus Garden, a Turkish eatery that opened about three years ago on Avenue U in Sheepshead Bay. They’re dubbed the more palatable name “lamb fries” ($8.90) on the menu, but make no mistake — these meatballs are nothing like the kind you get at an Italian restaurant. These bite-sized nuggets have a custard-like texture and come swimming in a pool of white wine sauce that balances out their funky flavor.

But lamb fries aren’t the only seemingly nasty bits on Caucasus Garden’s menu. Dining at this Southern Brooklyn spot is an exercise in offal, with a bill of fare featuring boiled beef tongue with horseradish ($5.90) and a stew of lamb liver, heart, kidney and testicles called “chiz-biz” ($14.90).

Even better is the fried calf liver appetizer, which owner Zackay Khanatayev should mass-produce in snack bags. He’d make a bundle — who wouldn’t want to nosh on crunchy, cumin-spiced morsels?

As for offal cuts — Caucasus Garden doesn’t waste those, either, offering the often throw-away scraps straight-up. Case in point, its liver kebab ($4). This rich, skewered protein comes unadorned, getting its only extra flavor from the charcoal grill. But the liver is delicious, and it actually tastes much meatier than we expected. This ain’t chopped liver.

But you don’t have to be a gutsy eater to enjoy Caucasus Garden, as the restaurant has plenty of familiar meat cuts, like chicken kebab ($4) and a terrific soup called kharcho ($4.90). It’s made with braised lamb shank, rice, dill, garlic and a beef-and-tomato-based broth. That’s all, we promise.

Caucasus Garden [2715 Avenue U between 27th and 28th streets in Sheepshead Bay, (718) 769-7003]. Credit cards accepted. Open seven days.

Photo of our daring reporter by Arthur De Gaeta


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