Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Swear I'll Stop Writing About Georgian Food After This Post: Brick Oven Bread

I know you're all probably tired of hearing about Georgian food by now, but wandering along Brighton Beach a few weeks ago, my friends and I came across "Brick Oven Bread," a Georgian bakery on a residential block, just east of Coney island Avenue.

Photo courtesy of Robyn Lee

Completely and utterly full from a long day of butter and cream-filled Russian treats, we decided to simply note the location before vowing to return as soon as humanly possible. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving and preparation for a trial got in the way, but I was finally able to return with my friend Lizzie and two colleagues of hers visiting from London.

As we walked inside, Lizzie's friends started asking about Georgia and Georgian food. "That's where Stalin was from," I said, summing up about 50% of my Georgian knowledge.

"Stalin?" He replied. "He was a bit of a tinker, wasn't he?"

Take what you will from that, but a "tinker" was described to me as a "cheeky fellow."

Sorry for the digression, onto the food. After Lizzie had a brief conversation with what I can only assume was the owner, they brought us out a sliced round of khachapuri. The cheese was applied with far more restraint than at Georgian Bread, and it was slightly sharper. "This is more authentic," claimed Lizzie.

We also picked up a shotis puri, which is the long bread that looks as if it swallowed a football. Here, the bread is a little thicker than at Georgian Bread, a bit doughier and with slightly less char from the tandoori-like oven (also known as a tonĂ©). It's also massive, probably 1 1/2 times the size of Georgian Bread. While good, especially fresh from the oven, I slightly prefer the bread at Georgian Bread. 

We also picked up a duo of dips. Chopped spinach was shot through with dill, garlic and pomegranate seeds, while lobio, a kidney bean salad, was covered in walnut sauce, onions and a bit of Georgian chili sauce. Both were devoured with handfuls of puri.

This intriguing bakery is a worthy twin to Georgian Bread only a short walk away, but unlike Georgian Bread, it's completely off anyone but the local's radar. An extensive Google search revealed nothing. Nothing on Chowhound, no Yelp review, not even a 5-year-old post by Dave Cook on Eating in Translation (as is almost always the case). How could this be? Well, check it out and see what you've been missing.

Brick Oven Bread
109 Brighton 11 Street (near Oceanview Avenue)
Brooklyn, NY 11235


  1. I'm in NY next week for a couple of days and am determined to work this into my schedule somehow!

  2. I love the fact that this post has no photos of food. Seriously.

  3. Ann: Do it!

    James: Photos of food are earned, not given.

  4. When I said "seriously" I meant it literally, not in the language of Noah :)

  5. Just discovered this blog & love it!
    I'm a law student from Sydney, and will be headed to NYC next February.
    Definitely checking out some of the places you've posted!*

  6. the "dip" you speak of is called phkali. It can be with beets, with spinach or just with softened green beans. cumin, coriander and sumac are the key spices along with various levels of garlic.

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