Co-owners Jonathan and Laura Nelms’ spacious 4,000-square-foot restaurant at 1205 11th Street NW aims to transport guests thousands of miles away to a corner of the the world thought to have produced the world’s first wines.
Upon entry, a floor-to-ceiling glass wall is filled with a couple hundred bottles imported from Georgia, with labels like Orgo and Pheasant’s Tears as well as smaller, family-owned operations like Naotari.
The Mediterranean-influenced menu from Malkhaz Maisashvili, the former chef of the Embassy of Georgia in Washington, kicks off with a lineup of small plates including vegetable paté-like pkhali made of spinach, green beans, or beets minced with walnuts and Georgian spices, as well as a variety of khinkali soup dumplings. Larger portions designed for sharing include whole grilled branzino with pomegranate sauce, and chanakhi lamb with seasonal vegetables.
Kebab options abound, ranging from white wine-marinated pork to yogurt-marinated lamb served alongside traditional condiments like spicy ajika.
Interior accents across the 136-seat restaurant, designed by 2Scale Interiors, include nods to traditional culture, like wooly Georgian “papakhi” hats and “supra” tablecloths alongside modern art. There’s also art from Moscow, D.C., and Tbilisi-based artists, including a metalwork installation of the curvy Georgian alphabet.
Georgian street artist Gagosh will fly to D.C. in the coming months to create a mural on the brick wall of the bar, located around the corner from the main dining room.
Dinner will be the only meal served right out of the gate, with brunch and lunch projected to follow in the future. Opening hours are 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday, and 5 p.m. to midnight, Thursday through Saturday.
Status: Scheduled to open at 5 p.m. 1205 11th Street NW; website.