Downtown Manhattan is now graced with not one, but two Georgian restaurants! (the other being Oda House on Avenue B).
When we walked into Old Tbilisi Garden yesterday, before seating us the server warned that service would be "very slow", presumably due to two large groups that were having dinner.
Fortunately it wasn't that long of a wait before we got our first dish, the megruli khachapuri. Khachapuri is Georgian bread filled with cheese and comes in all sorts of different varieties; at Oda House I had tried the adjaruli kind (it's shaped like a boat and filled with cheese and butter in the center). The megruli style has a superficial resemblance to an American cheese pizza, being a big circular doughy bread filled with soft white cheese. It was delicious, and would have easily made a filling meal for two on its own. It tastes pretty similar to the khachapuri you can buy from Georgian Bread down in Brighton Beach.
Next up was the tolma (stuffed grape leaves), which while not that dissimilar from the dolma you can find in a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean restaurant, was probably one of the best versions I've had in New York. These had a nicely seasoned meat and rice filling.
Lastly we had the lamb lula kebab, which came wrapped in a lavash-like flat bread and a tomato-based dipping sauce. I didn't think the lavash really added anything and ended up unwrapping it. The kebab meat was good, although not really much different from kebabs I've had in non-Georgian restaurants.
Overall I enjoyed the experience and I'd go back, maybe to try more uniquely Georgian dishes. Old Tbilisi Garden is on Bleecker between Sullivan and Macdougal.