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Georgian Food?

Just back from Moscow and was amazed at my dinner in a Georgian restaurant - who doesn't love flaming skewers of meat served on top of fruit? Where can I find this in New York??

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  1. I know of 2 Georgian restaurants in the city. Tbilisi and Pirosmani are both in southern Brooklyn. Search the board and you'll find a few posts regarding them. I've enjoyed the food at Tbilisi. Just don't realistically expect it to live up to your meal in Moscow.

    2222 Avenue U, Brooklyn, NY 11229

    811 Kings Hwy, Brooklyn, NY 11223

    5 Replies
    1. re: Joe MacBu

      thanks very much. how sad that Georgian food hasn't really made its way to brooklyn! it really is very delicious.

      1. re: Treece

        Huh? There are those two explicitly Georgian restaurants in the Kings Highway area, and a bunch of the "Russian" restaurants and delis in Brighton Beach and elsewhere in the city (and across the country, for that matter) offer Georgian items. I daresay most of the emigres in American "Russian" neighborhoods aren't usually considered ethnic Russians to begin with. Georgian? Uzbek? Ukrainian or Tajik Jew? Here they're all magically transformed into "Russians" by dint of a convenient shared language. The USSR was a very diverse place.

        1. re: Treece

          There are some Georgian dishes at most Russian restaurants in Brighton Beach, you can also buy a lot of Georgian ingredients and sauces at most grocery stores there. There is also a place I believe called "Georgian Bread" on Neptune ave. - search the boards.

          1. re: welle

            There is a Georgian Bakery on Neptune Blvd. (259??) that has good bread and cheeses.

          2. re: Treece

            I guess if a restaurant isn't in a "marquee" area it isn't in brooklyn.

        2. Primorski is Georgian, but I'm told that for dinner they now serve mostly "French style" food, but you can still get their Georgian specialties at lunch. There have been a succession of Georgian restaurants in Brighton Beach. In the 80s there was a fabulous place called Kavkas.


          282 Brighton Beach Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235

          1. I haven't yet been, but I keep reading positive write-ups of Tamada in Sheepshead Bay for Georgian food:


            1724 Ave Z, Brooklyn, NY 11235

            3 Replies
            1. re: katie570

              Just wanted to update that Tamada went out of business and is now closed.

              I just ate at Pirosmani, mentioned above, and enjoyed it.

              1. re: katie570

                I'm not at all surpised about the closing of Tamada. I went about 3 months ago, on a Friday evening, at about 6 p.m., and my date and I were the only customer's in the restaurant. The food was lousy and the service was extremely inattentive.

                1. re: myclawyer

                  have you tried Street Scene In Watchung NJ? Strictly Georgian,sight sound & taste

            2. I've been to both Tbilisi and Primorski, and while I enjoyed both, my friend who accompanied me on both trips who has also spent time in Georgia said that they didn't compare to the deliciousness of true Georgian food...

              8 Replies
              1. re: bladerobbins

                Theres a place in Bay Ridge called Eurasia, on 3rd ave between 72nd and 73rd. It appears to be Georgian. Anyone been?

                1. re: ropa vieja

                  We just returned from San Francisco, where we happened upon a Georgian deli and bakery. We sampled two wonderful salads. One was made from beets and walnuts, with a mild cheese (maybe cream cheese?) and the other was carrot and smoked salmon. Both were shaped into baseball sized balls, and garnished with a black olive.

                  The other item we tried was a type of candy-pastry. It looks like a bright purple sausage, about 1" in diameter, filled with walnuts. Basically, the walnut halves were strung together and dipped into a pliable, mildly sweet beet colored taffy substance.

                  The owner spoke some English, but it was difficult to remember the names of the items, and find out detailed information. HELP...any information is greatly appreciated!

                  1. re: shindiganna


                    what you refer to as "candy-pastry" is called "churchkhela" (pronounced choo-rch-khe-la) and it's made with lightly roasted nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts) repeatedly dipped in grape juice (white or red) that's thickened with cornmeal (cooked over low fire for a long time) and left out to dry for weeks. they are delicious, my mom used to make them all the time. the hardest thing is to wait for them to dry. google the name for recipes.

                    1. re: natsarkekia

                      they sell those in dry nuts/fruits places on Brighton Beach and also at Kalustyan's in Manhattan

                      1. re: olia

                        thanks nat and olia! kalustyan's is on my regular route. I'll look for it!

                    2. re: shindiganna

                      You can sometimes find churchkhela (under different names) at Greek, Turkish and Levantine grocery stores. I think I've seen it labeled in English as "nut sausage". I've seen it both loose and vacuum-packed at a few places in Astoria. Some "Russian" grocery stores in Rego Park and Brighton Beach and the like should have it too, and they'll probably know it by its Georgian name.

                      It's more often a cloudy dark brown when I've seen it. Not sure whether the purple ones are due to a specific grape variety or food coloring. When I tried making it years ago (it's like candlemaking), I'm pretty sure it was brown.

                      1. re: hatless

                        Thx hatless. I haven't found it yet, but I've not given up!
                        I'm pretty sure the owner told us he made it with beet juice, which would account for the bright purple color. It tasted like beets rather than grape.

                        1. re: hatless

                          best made with the fresh grape juice being prepared for wine

                  2. can anyone provide some typical menu translations? planning to go to Pirosmani and while I have a bunch of recent blog posts ready to print out with some menu options, maybe someone familiar with the cuisine can name/list some typical exemplary dishes?

                    2222 Avenue U, Brooklyn, NY 11229

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: bigjeff

                      doing some research, found this restaurant in london, that has a translated menu:

                        1. re: gloriousfood

                          yup, that was my blog reference. based on some prelim research:

                          soko - mushroom
                          pkhali - walnut based nut spread with various vegetables
                          badrijani - eggplant
                          kartopili - potato
                          lobia - beans
                          nigviani/nigzvet - walnut
                          khinkhali - soup dumpling thing
                          chanakhi - lamb/meat stew
                          mtsvadi - meat kebabs
                          kverstski - egg
                          khatchapuri - catchall for various breads

                          1. re: bigjeff

                            I got most of this from Darra Goldstein's "The Georgian Feast". Unfortunately, most of it is unavailable in NYC.

                            Abkhazura - Spicy meatballs
                            Achma-Makarina - Baked noodles with cheese
                            Adzhapsandali - Vegetable medley, usually eggplant, potatoes, onions, green peppers, garlic, tomatoes and herbs.
                            Adzhika - Hot pepper condiment
                            Azelila - Egg salad
                            Badagi - Fresh pressed grape juice that has been boiled until thick and concentrated
                            Badridzhani Khvelit da Matsvnit - Eggplant with cheese and yogurt
                            Basturma - Marinated grilled meat
                            Bazhe - Sauce of pounded walnuts, garlic and water. Often served with roasted fowl.
                            Borani - Cooked veggies mixed with yogurt
                            Bozbashi - Lamb soup
                            Buglama - Meat or fish stew with herbs
                            Chacha - Georgian vodka
                            Chakapuli - Liquidy braised meat (usually lamb). The meat is eaten separately and the broth drunk like soup
                            Chakhokhbili - Braised poultry with onions, tomatoes and herbs
                            Chanakhi - Lamb and vegetable stew
                            Charkhlis Chogi - Beets with cherry sauce
                            Charkhlis Mkhali - Beet puree w/ walnuts, herbs and spices
                            Chikhirtma - Chicken or lamb soup enriched with eggs and flavored with saffron and lemon
                            Chirbulli - Cauliflower with egg
                            Chizhi-Pizhi - Meatloaf
                            Chkmeruli - Garlic fried chicken
                            Chrianteli - Cold fruit soup
                            Churchkhela - Georgian national sweet made by stringing nuts (usually walnuts) and dipping them into thickened grape juice
                            Danduri - Purslane
                            Dzhondsholi - A garlicky, long-stemmed green usually eaten pickled
                            Elardzhi - Cornmeal pudding with cheese
                            Gadazelili Khveli - Cooked cheese with mint
                            Ghvidzli - Liver with pomegranate juice
                            Gochi - Roast suckling pig
                            Gomi - Grits
                            Gozinaki - Candied walnuts in honey ( a new year tradition)
                            Gupta - Beef patties
                            Ispanakhi Matsvnit - Spinach with yogurt
                            Kartopiliani - Potato bread
                            Kartopilis Kaurma - Herbed potatoes with eggs
                            Khachapuri - Cheese breads
                            Kharcho - Soup, usually with beef or lamb
                            Khashi - Tripe soup
                            Khenagi - Walnut and egg balls
                            Khinkali - Meat or cheese filled dumplings
                            Kombostos Ruleti Nigvzit - Cabbage with walnuts
                            Komshis Tolma - Stuffed quince
                            Kupati - Coiled sausages, with cloves, cinnamon and sour plum sauce
                            Kuchmachi - Chicken giblets with walnuts and pomegranate
                            Kvakhi Nigvzit - Sweetened pumpkin with walnuts
                            Kvatsarakhi - Sour syrup made from barberries
                            Labdo - Potato and walnut pancake
                            Limnis Namtskhvari - Lemon tea cake
                            Lobio - Beans
                            Lobiani - Bread filled with beans
                            Makvali - Blackberry sauce with garlic and herbs
                            Masharabi - Sweetened pomegranate syrup
                            Matsoni - Yogurt
                            Matsvnis Shechamandi - Yogurt soup
                            Mchadi -Corncakes
                            Mkhali/pkhali - Vegetable puree
                            Mtsvadi - Shish kebab
                            Muzhuzhi - Jellied pork
                            Nadugi - Cheese made from whey and often mixed with herbs
                            Nazuki - Spiced bread
                            Nigvzis Torti - Walnut and raisin torte
                            Niortskali - Garlic sauce
                            Pamidvris Tolma - Stuffed tomatoes
                            Pelamushi - Grape juice and cornmeal squares
                            Puri - Bread baked in a clay oven
                            Pyshki - Sage and mint fritters
                            Satsivi - Spiced walnut sauce, enriched with yolks
                            Satatsuri - Asparagus soup
                            Shemtsvari Kalmakhi - Grilled trout with tarragon
                            Shemtsvari Tsitsili Satenit - Grilled chicken stuffed with cheese/pomegranates or rice/cherries
                            Shilaplavi - Rice pilaf
                            Solyanka - Beef stew with pickles
                            Sousi - Beef stew
                            Tabaka - Flattened chicken fried under a heavy weight
                            Taplis Namtskhvari - Honey cake
                            Tevzi Brotseulis Tsvenshi - Cold fish with pomegranate and walnut sauce
                            Tevzi Kindzmarshi - Cold fish in cilantro sauce
                            Tevzis Buglama - Salmon stew with tomatoes and herbs
                            Tkemali - Sour plums, and the sauce made from them
                            Tklapi - Fruit leather
                            Tolma - Stuffed vegetables
                            Tsitsmati - A peppery salad green like arugula
                            Uraguli Dzmarshi - Salmon in vinegar sauce

                            1. re: Joe MacBu

                              thank you man!

                              due to inclement weather (and B/Q being overhead trains that got knocked out) we have not been able to get out to pirosmani yet but thanks for the guide; I saw a lot of these similar translations looking online; perfect.

                              1. re: bigjeff

                                IMHO Pirosmani isn't worth the trip (and I'll travel anywhere for Georgian food), I think a Khachipuri and some of the salads they occasionally have at Georgian Bread are a much better introduction to the food. Pirosmani struck me as Georgian food made by Russians. I was surprised by that glowing review.

                                2222 Avenue U, Brooklyn, NY 11229

                                Georgian Bread
                                265 Neptune Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235

                                1. re: jpdoctor

                                  thanks jpdoctor; anything else good at Georgian Bread? I see it's just that much further out but possibly worth it. this is also Georgian Bakery (one and the same?). if its a bakery only, is there an alternate, actual restaurant you'd rec over Pirosmani?

                      1. This isn't a restaurant, but the cheese bread (sorry, I don't know the real name) at the Georgia Bakery in Brighton Beach is worth a trip. Was there this afternoon. Hot from the oven, we devoured half in the car and I'm having the rest for dinner.

                        22 Replies
                        1. re: Jaleamia

                          Jalaemia (and also jpdoctor): is Georgian Bread same as Georgian Bakery, at 265 Neptune?

                          Georgian Bread
                          265 Neptune Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235

                          1. re: bigjeff

                            Hi bigjeff,

                            I think these two places (Georgian Bread and Georgian Bakery) are one and the same. Checking Google maps and street view, the location (265 Neptune) looks right to me.

                            Stumbled across this place a couple of years ago and had hot-out-of-the-oven, discus-shaped bread stuffed with some creamy, salty cheese. Amazing.

                            If you go though, check out other weird stuff totally unrelated to baking that they have. For example, tarragon soda - very sweet, electric algae green, licoricey fizz that I really liked even though I usually can't stand black licorice.

                            Hope this was helpful!


                            Glendale is hungry...

                            1. re: Glendale is hungry

                              thanks and . . . takeout only? or do they have a table or two or three?

                              1. re: bigjeff

                                takeout only. The various salad-y dip-y things they have in the cold case also are excellent (usually veg + walnut paste +herbs)

                                The Cheesebread is Khachipuri.

                                1. re: bigjeff

                                  takeout only. get some khachipuri, some regular bread, and some of the spreads. they're awesome.

                                  also replied in another thread, but here's a pic of awning to help you recognize it and a couple of the bread and spreads.
                                  FWIW--never been to pirosmani, but went to Tbilisi years ago and thought it was excellent.

                                  1. re: missmasala

                                    Missmasala and others, thanks so much for this info! I loved the khachapuri at Georgian Bread. Here's the feature we did on NY1. Hope you dig it, and thanks for the great find, everyone.

                                    Alex Van Buren
                                    Contributing Editor, CHOW.com


                                    Georgian Bread
                                    265 Neptune Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235

                                2. re: Glendale is hungry

                                  For Georgian pastries, (no breads) many with variations of walnut fillings, Gayana's Bakery Cafe 418 Ditmas Avenue between East 4th and East 5th St. Also blintzes, turnovers and savory baked goods. Their khachipuri is more like quiche, with cheese on the outside. Delicious but a different item than at Georgian Bread.

                                  Gayana's Bakery Cafe
                                  418 Ditmas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218

                                  1. re: gpcohen

                                    That is totally fascinating. Thanks for the tip!

                                    1. re: gpcohen

                                      Been wondering about Gayana's. Will have to stop there after my next visit to the lice lady. ; )
                                      Is it orthodox, or open on saturdays?

                                      1. re: missmasala

                                        Open Saturdays. What they call their baklava is yummy although the thick dough would never satisfy a purist. I brought home a big roll stuffed with sweetened cheese which my family devoured before I got a chance to try it, but the reports were very positive.

                                        1. re: missmasala

                                          Dearest missmasala,

                                          For all that's decent and good, please tell me you meant to write the "nice lady."

                                          Momentarily horrified,

                                          Glendale is hungry...

                                          1. re: Glendale is hungry

                                            Nope. Abby Rosenfeld, the Lice Lady of New Yorker fame, lives around the corner from Gayana's. With two kids in public school, I have used her services more than once. If you're horrified you must not have school-age kids at the moment. I don't know a single family who hasn't had lice. They are rampant among NYC kids. Lice checks are part of most school PTA budgets.

                                            Good thing you don't know me in person, right?

                                            1. re: missmasala

                                              Has anyone been to Mtskheta Cafe in Gravesend Brooklyn? How is it? Any recommendations?


                                              Mtskheta Cafe
                                              2568 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11214

                                              1. re: sandidub

                                                Take that Grub Street review with a grain of salt. They got all giddy about everything. The reality is more mixed.

                                                Lets start with the good. The bread is fresh and tasty. The khachapuri (cheese bread) is even better. The various stews (ostri -beef, chakapuli - lamb, and the chicken), are pretty good to very good. The lamb is the best, the beef a close 2nd, and the chicken is decent. The Georgian salad is very good indeed. Who knew?

                                                On to the mediocre. The sausages made a dramatic entrance in a cloud of smoke, straight from the kitchen. Unfortunately they were decent, nothing more. Bland. They were helped if you doused them with the accompanying sauce. There should have been more of it.

                                                Finishing with the sub par. That corn bread which the Robs raved about? The one with the melty cheese? They must have been pounding down vodka that night. The corn bread was flavorless and that cheese wouldn't melt if you used a blowtorch. Not much flavor to it either. Decoy food.

                                                We had the dumplings last. Soup dumplings. Bland. The skins are thicker than the armor on a T-34 tank. Tricky to eat and not particularly tasty. Filling though. They would have spoiled our appetites to no good purpose if had ordered them earlier. Avoid them.

                                                The place is BYO. There are convenient delis and liquor stores in the area. It's worth a visit if you order carefully. The price is certainly right so you can forgive the occasional missteps.

                                                The menu now has a 2nd section which lists the dishes in English. The waiter was quite pleasant and helpful.

                                                It's worth a visit, especially if you have a car. A long subway trip to and from the place would take a bit of the shine off.

                                                Mtskheta Cafe
                                                2568 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11214

                                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                  I agree with Bob. It's pretty good, but stick with Pirosmani.

                                                  I think the way to eat the corn bread and "melty" cheese is to combine the bland cheese with the salty/sulfuric one... after that it wasn't bad.

                                                  Probably the friendliest service of any of the Georgian places I've been to.

                                                  2222 Avenue U, Brooklyn, NY 11229

                                                  1. re: ChiefHDB

                                                    "I think the way to eat the corn bread and "melty" cheese is to combine the bland cheese with the salty/sulfuric one... after that it wasn't bad."

                                                    You may have a point. I only tried one of the cheeses and it was pretty bad. The corn bread itself was flavorless. I actually sprinkled a little salt on it. Other people at the table saw me and after tasting the bread, followed my example. I put the cheese on the hot bread, waiting for it to melt. It just sat on the plate, looking at me.

                                                    "Me melt? Forgeddaboudit!" (This cheese had spent time in Bensonhurst.)

                                                    That 2nd cheese might have been better. At that point I didn't like the odds.

                                                    "Probably the friendliest service of any of the Georgian places I've been to."

                                                    Very friendly indeed. They seemed genuinely happy we were there.

                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                      I wouldn't even rate it as pretty good. It's a solid avoid in my book. I went with a friend and we tried almost all of the friendly waiter's recommendations, which coincidentally were very similar to the NY Mag recommendations.
                                                      The cheese bread was good, and I'd eat that any day, but the sausage was served with awful freezer fries and was nothing special in itself. As Bob mentions, the xiao long bao like dumplings were huge, with thick "wrappers" that tasted like salty uncooked pasta dough. The chicken, which was served in a bubbling cauldron, was one of the the only dishes that had any flavor, and so was eaten with relative gusto, but it didn't rise above the level of decent home cooking. A starter dish of spinach w/ walnuts was bland and monotonous while the eggplant was something like eggplant rollatini, oily and tasty, but again, nothing to write home (or to Chowhound) about.

                                                      1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                        I was part of Bob's group. I read Peter's review and I can't actually disagree with anything he said other than the spinach dish, whcih I love, although I think Georgian Bread's take out version is better.

                                                        I think the real problem is that the Robs' review was bad. Those Khinkali were actually pretty authentic - the problem is they just don't compare well to xiao long bao. Of my accord I just wouldn't order them in finest restaurant in Tbilisi. Same thing with the plainer grilled dishes (sausage, sashlik, etc) - while traditional food in Georgia they just aren't intrinsically Georgian - they don't have odd combination of flavors that sort of sings Georgia that you are looking for when you spend an hour on the D train.

                                                        Its not "the greatest food ever sold" but if you stick to things that are intriniscally georgian - stews, walnut based dishes its worth the trip just to check out a different cuisine.

                                                        I do think it is better than Pirosmani FWIW, but not by enough that I say go here not there.

                                                        2222 Avenue U, Brooklyn, NY 11229

                                                        Georgian Bread
                                                        265 Neptune Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235

                                                        1. re: jpdoctor

                                                          As another member of the group of 8 that Bob M. went with (hello "jpdoctor"... now I know who you are!), I basically agree with his review, although I can see Peter C's criticisms. However, although the lamb dish seemed to be the most enjoyed entree by all, I favored the beef in tomato based sauce. The garlic chicken wasnt great, but pretty good. The eggplant in walnut sauce app was, in my opinion, excellent. Not greasy for us and very very tasty. Two other members of our group have written this up in their blogs ("pink pig" and "eatingintranslation") so more can be found there if desired.

                                                          1. re: Steve R

                                                            I didn't say greasy -- what I meant was nicely oily.

                                                            1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                              Ok then. So when are we going back :-)

                                                              1. re: Steve R

                                                                I'm not going, but I'm happy to go check out Georgian Breads with you.

                                                                Georgian Bread
                                                                265 Neptune Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235