Flavors of Georgia Coming to Bleecker Street

By Rosa Goldensohn on June 19, 2014 7:11am 

 Old Tbilisi will serve an array of khachapuri, a Georgian baked dough and cheese specialty.
Old Tbilisi will serve an array of khachapuri, a Georgian baked dough and cheese specialty.
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Facebook/Old Tbilisi

GREENWICH VILLAGE — Bleecker Street will soon be getting a taste of Georgia. But don’t expect barbecue sauce — these are the dumplings, grilled meats and cheesy breads of the small Eurasian country. 

Old Tbilisi, named after Georgia’s capital city, is set to open June 27 in the 174 Bleecker St. space formerly home to the burger joint Slide, according to husband-and-wife chef team Pikria Basaria and Vano Kratsashvili.

The couple sold their former restaurant, Tbilisi, at 811 Kings Highway in Gravesend, Brooklyn in hopes of drawing a Village crowd to their new location with the authentic flavors of their home country. 

“It’s similar to Turkish and Mediterranean food in concept, but we season and cook it differently,” said Basaria. “We’ll bring all the seasonings from Georgia."

Spices they'll use include dzira, the dominant seasoning in Georgian meat dumplings, which are called khinkali. Basaria described the flavor of the spice as “very close to cumin, but it’s not cumin. ... It’s, I would say, a better version of cumin."

The menu also features a variety of regional versions of khachapuri, a baked, calzone-like Georgian specialty. 

“Georgia has a lot of unique places and they each make khachapuri different way,” Basaria said.

"Megrelian people, we put cheese inside and on top and it looks like white pizza. Adjarian people give it a different shape and they put a poached egg in the middle when it’s almost done," she said, referring to the cuisine of the country's multiple ethnic groups.

"Imeruli khachapuri is something Imeretian people make. It’s a very thin dough and usually it’s made in a frying pan. There’s cheese inside and you just put butter on it when it’s done," she added.

“My favorite is Megruli khachapuri because I’m from that specific part of Georgia,” Basaria said. 

The restaurant has a rear garden and will have a full bar.

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