'Turkish' on Serious Eats

Turkish Kebabs and Salads at Mangal Kebab

Your typical New York Turkish restaurant is a nice-ish affair: smartly dressed waiters and white tablecloths, coursed meals, [middling] wine lists. But there are plenty of mom and pop shops that offer food which is just as good if not better, sometimes for as little as half the price, depending on how much atmosphere you're willing to sacrifice. Mangal Kebab in Sunnyside is one of them. More

Standout Turkish Mezze at Grill 43

None of the grilled meat at Grill 43 wows me, but their cold salads and dips ($4 to $5 each) are worth a visit all on their own. A plate of four will run you $13.95 which, with endless refills of warm, crusty bread, makes a worthy light lunch for two (or a piggish meal for one). More

Market Tours: Visit Carmel Grocery in Forest Hills for Eggplant Salads and Middle Eastern Staples

Look close under the green and white awning and you'll notice, in the window, brightly painted signs advertising dried fruits and nuts, homemade salads, and more. Welcome to Carmel, a tiny but wonderfully stocked Middle Eastern grocery in Forest Hills. The products are fresh, the staff is friendly, and the affordable prices can't be beat. More

Sip Sak: Orhan Yegen's Ottoman Empire

"What you are eating here is my culture," Orhan Yegen tells us. He points across our expanse of dishes and says, "It has to be like this. There can be no other way." Unspoken, but implied: "and if you don't like it, tough!"

This is not what chefs tend to tell a happy, compliant group of twelve who are thoroughly enjoying their three course lunch. But I can't say I was surprised. Though it was the first time I was called out as a "tourist" in my dozen-odd meals at Sip Sak over the past several years, I had a feeling it was coming. Yegen's reputation—the Soup Nazi of New York's Turkish dining scene—preceeds him. We were essentially told that the food at Sip Sak is beyond reproach, and if we had a problem, it lay with us. But here's the thing: for the most part, Yegen is right. Sip Sak's cooking so resembles what you'll find in Turkey that it's hard not to imagine yourself there.

More

More Posts