January 25, 2005

Turkish Restaurants

Ok, as promised, the report. We had a great time. As per my suspicion, the service you get when the guest of a native speaker of the native langauge of the wait staff is better. Putting to one side the issue of whether the majority of the kitchen staff at the Turkish Kitchen is actually Turkish or, more likely, some very smart guys from Mexico and Guatemala, we ate very well.

We sat down and immidiately had some raki. As described below, raki, when you get the good stuff and not the stuff somebody just brewed up in their garage, is fantastic. It helps if you like the taste of licorice, though, which I do. After the raki was poured, and after a thoughtful consultation between our hosts and the waitress, the food started coming. And coming. And coming. I don't know that I can remember it all, but it included: Shepard's Salad (which I don't eat as I loathe cucumbers); stuffed grape leaves; fried phylo dough stuffed with some kind of yummy cheese; octupus salad; a feta-like cheese; smoked and pureed eggplant; ezme (tomatoes and onion and other things, whirred together); lamb sausages; pita bread; and, mucver (yummy fried zuccini pancakes). I seriously think I may have left something off the list but I cannot remember what it is. All of this was great with the raki.

With the meze out of the way, we got down to some more serious eating.

I think that our hosts were surprised by our knowledge of Turkish food in general and thought that we chose our main courses well. My wife and I and one of our hosts, had grilled lamb sliced thinly from an upright spit and served over smoked eggplant puree. I think that the eggplant is called hunkar and here is a good looking recipe for it. The other person in our party had manti, those lovely little dumplings in a yogurt sauce. We drank a bottle of Turkish wine which was quite good, but a little thin, maybe, unlike any of us after we rolled out of the restaurant.

Dessert was actually attempted by the women in the group, thus proving that woman are the stronger sex. Or more prone to eating disorders. Whichever. They had stuffed apricots and some honey, walnut pastry, the name of which escapes me. The restaurant also brought us a plate of beautifully cut fruit. Our friends tell us that this is standard practice on Turkey but we had never experienced this before. It was, I thought, a reflection on the amount of money our hosts may have spent, but that just may be a typical NY cynisism coming to the fore.

Either way, it was a lovely meal with great company. Time flew by and before we knew it, two and half hours had elapsed.

I love Turkish food and my experiences in Turkish restaurants has always been good. There was one around the corner from our apartment when we lived on the Upper East Side and only had one child. We used to go there regularly and when we did, we would go early with the baby. We would sit down and not really see the baby much until we were ready to leave because there was always one or two young women working as waitresses who would grab the baby to play with as soon as we sat down. It was just so friendly. I sure do miss that place.

PS: WordPerfect must be broken. It has not identified one single spelling error in the above post. That is not possible.

Posted by Random Penseur at January 25, 2005 10:11 AM

That dessert, I think, is kaymakli kayisi. We love the stuff.

Posted by: kb at January 25, 2005 06:17 PM

Afiyet olsun RP!

Posted by: Wicked H at January 25, 2005 07:26 PM
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