If only my parents would have taken me to Georgian cafes for some delicious Khatchapuri instead of staying home watching The Love Boat all those years. Would I have appreciated it as a kid? Not sure. I know my youngest who went with us to one of those a few weeks ago, would have rather stayed home and watch the same Full House episode for the 25th time. You realize that your kid watched a particular episode for the 25th time when you as a parent already know the entire episode by heart without actually ever watching it. I’m still convinced that that is the reason our goldfish, Ziggy Jr. Jr. (not to be confused with our previous goldfish Ziggy Jr.) leaped to his death. When you hear that music, when one of the adults on the show explains yet another life lesson to the kids, on an hourly basis, there’s just so much you can take.
You know the place is authentic when you are not sure exactly of its name. Georgian Bread? Tone Cafe? Khachapuri-R-Us? Whatever its called, this Brighton Beach gem is worth the schlep, even while being a little out of the main babushka hub. Lets call it Tone. Tone recently renovated to transform a takeout place into a takeout place with a cozy, rustic, attached sit down with gorgeous views of the oven. The only type of oven in NYC where you can say “gorgeous views of the oven”. In a city filled with some amazing and unique bakeries, add Tone, or the Georgian bread place near you to you list.
The main draw here is the Khatchapuri, essentially bread with cheese which can come in various forms and sizes. But the one to get is the Adjaruli Khatchapuri, a boat shape bread topped with Farmer’s Cheese and an egg cracked open right before serving. You then mix in the egg with the cheese and the result is a gorgeous feast for all senses. The bread is hard, crispy and the perfect partner for that rich, runny mess you just made.
The Adjaruli is made to order, and can take as much as an hour to make. Anywhere between 30-60 minutes to be exact. And while you wait, you can either order other things, or drool over all the bread being made next door via the glass wall , or do both (RECOMMENDED!). So grab a napkin (something heavy duty and pretty. Not what you got in the deli last night and saving them for a special occasion) and lets take a look at how they are making those other love boats, the plain ones…
We managed to eat about half of the Adjaruli because we were no longer hungry after pre-stuffing ourselves with the following goodies. The best perhaps came first. Lobio, essentially a sick red bean salad, with ground walnut, pomegranate and spices. The perfect starter! Imeruli was another form of Khatchapuri, this one being cheese filled soft bread. Satisfying, although not particularly unique to us. Mtsvadi, Shashlik (Shis Kebab) was a decent kebab. The “Kababi” on the other hand, ground beef pork perfectly seasoned and slow cooked, wrapped in flat bread was fantastic. Drinks available are the normal Russian fare including the sweet Pear Soda, and the Kompot (like a fruit punch), which the Russians like to dilute with vodka they carry in water bottles.