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Ridge Restaurant Showcases Exotic Cuisine of Georgia

Simultaneously exotic and comforting, the food served up at one of Bay Ridge’s newest restaurants, Georgian Dream, brings the relatively unknown cuisine of a far-off land right here to Third Avenue.

With similarities to both Middle Eastern and European food, while different from both, the cuisine served up at the two-month-old Georgian Dream yet makes its own culinary statement – and it is a delicious one!

From appetizers through dessert, we were charmed by what we were served, digging in to the array of foods with gusto.

We began with several of the eatery’s cold vegetable dishes, many of which get their special savor from the addition of nuts. These included Pkhali, finely chopped Spinach and Walnut Salad ($16), which was intensely green in color and brightly flavored to boot, as well as rolled-up slices of grilled eggplant stuffed with a mixture that also included chopped walnuts ($10), and a creamy puree of Green Beans with Eggs ($12) spiked with fresh parsley.

We also enjoyed the Khachapuri Acharuli ($15), a freshly baked “bread boat” filled with melted cheese, butter and egg yolk that the restaurant’s co-owner Besik Petriashvili deftly combined into an oozing and delectable fondue-like mixture in front of us, instructing us to dip the bread into the cheese and eat up. And, eat we did, as the combination was extremely hard to resist.

Steamed dumplings filled with spiced meat (Khinkali, $12 for six) looked like little purses and reminded us of Dim Sum, though the flavor was very different. Our main dish, Chicken Sish Kebab ($10), was also familiar yet different – it was served up with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and accompanied by a tart pomegranate sauce.

The Georgian bread ($3) was one of the stars of the table. Crisp on the outside, dense and chewy within, it’s baked daily by Petriashvili, though three Georgian cooks who hail from the country’s capital city of Tbilisi are responsible for the rest of the cuisine.

Petriashvili – who came to the U.S. 13 years ago — isn’t new to the restaurant business; while he and his partner Valerian Ghachava met because they were both on the police force in Georgia, he said his father had owned a restaurant in Tbilisi that he worked in.

He said the partners “knew we wanted to open only in Bay Ridge and only on Third Avenue.” The duo looked for four months to find the right spot; when they found it, they wanted to make it as authentic-looking as possible.

“This is our design, our work,” he said. “It feels like home and looks [somewhat] like old Tbilisi. “Everyone tells me how authentic it is and that’s really all I want,” he added.