Just before dinner is over at Pirosmani in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, the waiter will clear everyone’s plates, and first-timers may worry that the kitchen has forgotten about that order of Georgian dumplings. But fresh, spotless plates are a requirement for enjoying the baseball-size khinkali; they serve as a test of one’s dumpling-eating skills.
“You have to eat it without getting any drips on the dish,” said the owner, Manuchar Katchakhidze. Pick it up with your hands, then take a bite from the corner, watch the steam escape, and drink the broth waiting behind the dumpling’s thick, memory-foam-squishy skin.
If you’ve done it properly, your plate will stay clean even after you’ve gotten through the filling, a deeply savory mix of beef, pork shoulder, garlic, onion, Georgian red pepper and fresh cilantro. The balance of that simple filling is of the utmost importance; Mr. Katchakhidze has a rule that in the kitchen, “at least three or four people have to taste the khinkali. Your whole business depends on khinkali.”