Georgian on my mind: Chelsea’s Chama Mama

An assortment of foods from Chama Mama, including dumplings, known as khinkali, center. (Instagram/chamamamanyc)

BY GABE HERMAN | A new Georgian restaurant in the Village boasts a wide variety of dishes from the Eurasian country and has been getting good reviews since it opened this spring.

Chama Mama opened in March at 149 W. 14th St., between Sixth and Seventh Aves., after signing a 10-year lease for the space.

The restaurant touts its “classic Georgian cuisine with a modern spin,” including three foundational “ingredients.” One is called tone, which is a large clay oven, custom built in this location, for baking daily bread.

The second key element is khachapuri, a cheese bread that is part of traditional Georgian cuisine. Two of the signature types of the bread are lobiani, which includes kidney beans slow cooked with smoked pork, and adjarui, with cheese and egg.

And the third key ingredient at Chama Mama is Qvevri, an egg-shaped clay pot used for making and storing wine.

Stuffed eggplant at Chama Mama. (Courtesy chamamamanyc/Instagram)

The menu features five kinds of the khachapuri cheese bread, ranging from $13 to $15. “Small Cold Plates” on the menu include stuffed eggplant, stuffed sweet red peppers, gebjalia (handmade cheese rolled with yogurt and mint), and adjabsandali (eggplant stew with tomato, mixed peppers and purple basil).

Small hot plates, from $10 to $13, include lamb-stuffed grape leaves, a bean stew called lobio, roasted wild mushrooms, and house-made dumplings called khinkali, with different fillings, including cheeses, nuts and meats.

Larger “shared plates” feature a variety of meats, such as game hen, braised lamb, braised beef short ribs, and a beef and pork dish.

The restaurant has been getting good reviews, averaging four-and-a-half stars out of five on Yelp. While some noted the small space can get crowded, the food gets consistently positive comments.

“Have been wanting to try Georgian food for the longest time and this place did not disappoint!” one woman wrote. “Every item we ordered was flavorful and delicious!”

Adjabsandali, which includes eggplant with tomato, mixed peppers and purple basil. (Courtesy chamamamanyc/Instagram)

“Everything was extremely delicious and the bread was so soft and yummy, it literally felt like it was melting in our mouths,” another diner wrote in July. “I could literally eat all of their dishes on a daily basis because of how fresh, filling and flavorful it was. The honey cake was absolutely perfection and tasted like tiramisu and baklava in one.”

Other desserts include Easter cheesecake, a parfait with cottage cheese, and cream cheese with dried fruits and almonds, as well as Death By Chocolate, with chocolate and chestnuts with a citrus sauce.

More information can be found at chamamama.com.

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