Many great things stood out on the menu, but Britt and I decided to share two appetizers and an entree. The first appetizer was khinkali, large perfectly-formed, meat-filled dumplings. While they looked like something from a dim sum restaurant, the filling was distinctively Eastern European in flavor — a mix of ground meat and aromatic spices.
The next appetizer came out at the same time as our entree. It was khachapuri, which is oven-baked bread stuffed with sulguni cheese. Because it’s round, it looks a little bit like a sauceless pizza. It’s mouthwatering — I’m getting hungry again thinking about it a day later. The bread was perfectly baked. Sulguni is a mild cheese with a hint of salt, like feta, but very melty and chewy.
The entree was chackokhibi, pieces of chicken stewed in tomatoes, herbs, and peppers, served with some Georgian bread. While it was delicious, it was not as good as the other two things we ordered. The sauce had a delicate flavor, but it was lukewarm and I felt it would be better if it were hotter. The Georgian bread looked like Cuban bread (one of my favorite things in the world) but was a little bit tough.
If Britt and I go back to Old Tbilisi, we’ll order the khinkali and khachapuri again, but try a different entree. We’d love to get the shkmeruli (chicken in a garlic sauce) or chanakhi (a lamb stew). There are also two different styles of kebabs on the menu.
The dessert menu included pelamushi, a grape pudding, but we were too full to order anything else (and we were saving room for dessert at Rice to Riches later that night).
Old Tbilisi is on Bleeker Street in the Village. If you go, ask for a seat in the outdoor garden in the back. The moss-covered rocks and bright green foliage provide a pleasant respite from New York City life.
Old Tbilisi gave us our first taste of Georgian food and hospitality. We’re hungry for more. We’re adding Georgia to our travel list.