Restaurant Review: Old Tbilisi Garden

A note about my restaurant reviews: New York City counts many Eastern European restaurants scattered across the five boroughs, most of them ignored by restaurant critics and diners alike. I intend to visit as many as I can and report!

Red Alert! Greenwich Village is turning into a nest of Soviets! Only a few months after Ariana (the last restaurant I reviewed) set up shop on Houston Street, Old Tbilisi Garden opened its doors on Bleecker Street in the exact same block. (Not to mention the Langos Truck that’s been corrupting NYU youth, one greasy flat bread at a time…)

Old Tbilisi Garden has a pedigree that shouldn’t be totally new to my readers. Apparently, part of the team is comprised of none other than the former owners of Tbilisi in Brooklyn, which I reviewed here a few years ago. After selling their old restaurant and spending some time in the kitchen at Oda House, they moved to their new digs in July.

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Restaurant Review: Toné Café

A note about my restaurant reviews: New York City counts many Eastern European restaurants scattered across the five boroughs, most of them ignored by restaurant critics and diners alike. I intend to visit as many as I can and report!

Do you remember Georgian Bread? At a time when Georgian restaurants in NYC were a rarity (no Pepela or Oda House back then), this Brighton Beach bakery turned out good khachapuri made from scratch. Fast forward a few years: the former owner has retired, and the bakery, under new ownership (“your new taste”, as the facade brags in approximate English), was extended to include a sit-down restaurant and garden next door. The place is now called Toné Café, after the tandoor (თონე / tone in Georgian) that takes pride of place in the middle of the kitchen.

With all the recent competition, does this forerunner of the New York khachapuri fad still top the podium of cheese bread goodness? Does the place still justify the trek to Brighton? Read on!

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Restaurant Review: Oda House

A note about my restaurant reviews: New York City counts many Eastern European restaurants scattered across the five boroughs, most of them ignored by restaurant critics and diners alike. I intend to visit as many as I can and report!

Georgian Cuisine - Oda HouseOda House, in Alphabet City, doesn’t follow any of the caricatural archetypes of Russian (and post-Soviet) restaurants in New York. It’s neither an oligarch den like the late Brasserie Pushkin, nor a heavy-handed theme restaurant like Nasha Rasha, nor a Brighton Beach / Sheepshead Bay mega-caberet like Baku Palace, nor a pizza-parlor-style joint like Taam Tov. Instead, it looks (and functions) like a normal East Village restaurant!

Georgian Cuisine - Oda HouseExposed brick walls, large windows, real waiters, cosmopolitan patrons… If you like going to Russian restaurants for ironic or anthropological reasons, prepare to be disappointed. Even their web site is BS-free (the only detail I found to pick on is that all the pictures of the executive chef show her in her school uniform, a rather unusual choice).

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Restaurant Review: Pepela

A note about my restaurant reviews: New York City counts many Eastern European restaurants scattered across the five boroughs, most of them ignored by restaurant critics and diners alike. I intend to visit as many as I can and report!

Georgian Cuisine - Pepela Restaurant

There aren’t too many Georgian restaurants in New York / the US /  the West, and that’s too bad. Pepela (butterfly in Georgian), in Midtown East, filled a gap by being the first one in Manhattan. A quick glance at the exterior and interior of the town house it occupies near Park Avenue reveals this is also the “classiest” in the city.

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Paris Restaurant Report: La Maison Géorgienne

In addition to my New York restaurant reviews, I’d like to share with you my thoughts on random Eastern European restaurants I visit during my various trips. These posts may not always have the depth of my traditional reviews, so I won’t provide any ratings. I’m also unlikely to write about a place if it’s not noteworthy in some capacity.

Nestled in a small street in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, La Maison Géorgienne is one of the very few Georgian restaurants in…  all of Western Europe, really.

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Restaurant Review: Tbilisi

A note about my restaurant reviews: New York City counts many Eastern European restaurants scattered across the five boroughs, most of them ignored by restaurant critics and diners alike. I intend to visit as many as I can and report!

A few months ago, I remember reporting that there was no recommendable Georgian restaurant in New York. This was before I discovered Tbilisi, located at the border between Midwood and Gravesend in Brooklyn, “the first Georgian Cuisine opened not only in NY, but in whole United States [sic]“. If we’re to believe the restaurant’s malware-infected web site, this is quite a serious oversight: “since Georgia became more popular and Georgian Cuisine well known among other nations, Restaurant TBILISI turned out to be famous for all the people living in NY”. (When did Georgia become more popular exactly? After the invasion by Russia, or during the Vancouver Olympics with the death of the Georgian luge athlete? I confess I don’t know.)

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