Tbilisi on U New York City Entry #40
Hungryrabbi and I met for our LTH-New York excursion in Sheepshead Bay, out in South Brooklyn, at Pirosmani, a Georgian (Soviet-diaspora) restaurant. One of the treasures of living in New York is the range of cuisines. I admit that the subway travel time from Manhattan to Avenue U in Brooklyn is approximately the driving time from suburban Chicago to downtown Milwaukee.
Avenue U was the heart of Old Jewish Brooklyn crossing Ocean Avenue. Now it is a highly diverse community with a large contingent from the former Soviet Union.
Pirosmani is a pleasant establishment with waiters who could speak sufficient English for us Yanks (with some help from Hungryrabbi's Russian). We admired the vibrant folk art murals on the wall and enjoyed the stylings of a Georgian chanteuse who, given the few diners, was almost singing for us alone.
Pirosmani serves honest middle-class Georgian food. Not peasant dishes, but not as sophisticated as a delicious elaborate Georgian banquet that I was served in Jerusalem. We particularly enjoyed the roasted eggplant with walnuts and a very flavorful lamb soup (Kharcho) with rice (the selection of herbs and the subtle broth suggested that this was not the hearty chowder of Georgian workers). Also satisfying was warm cheese in a bread that tasted much like a puri (the name of the dish was Khachapuri, which might indicate a connection). We relished our Pork Shish-kabob, Pirogi, and slices of a hard, mozzarella-like cheese called "Suluguni." Our major disappointment was Kuchamachi, advertised as Chicken Liver with Walnuts, but included chewy bits reminiscent of a beef tendon. The closing Chocolate Cake was sweet, but not particularly rich. We also had a robust, semi-sweet Georgian red wine, Khyanchkara.
Our meal emphasizes that just because a restaurant is "exotic," it need not be outstanding in all details. However, we had enough good dishes that we left feeling well-satisfied. By Manhattan standards, the dinner was not expensive, but compared to other ethnic dining, the bill of $65/person suggests middle-class cuisine on U.
2222 Avenue U (at 22nd Street)
Brooklyn (Sheepshead Bay)
1 month ago