Pera Turkish Tacos reverses the normal street truck tale. Instead of starting out as a truck and slowly making its way towards restaurant-dom and all that entails, Pera started out as a restaurant and has just fielded its first truck. In October, after months of consideration as to what the old Tavern on the Green location would become, the Central Park powers-that-be decided on a visitor's center with a food truck plaza, in which oldies like Rickshaw Dumpling Truck and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream would join new recruits Ladles of Love and Pera Turkish Tacos. When I went on Monday, only Pera and Van Leeuwen were there.
The concept is pretty simple: tacos with Turkish fixings. The lavender and honey roasted chicken on lavash bread ($3.50) had medium-sized morsels ofdark meat, tender and delectable, with a subtle marinade that gives it a pleasant hint of flavor—made even better by a hearty, punchy herb pesto. And every single item in the original smoked lamb taco (also $3.50) gushed with flavor—a generous helping of creamy feta, a heap of caramelized onions, and a smothering of barbeque sauce.
I was less enamored with the grilled spicy shrimp with sumac and onions on a zucchini pancake ($4.00), with barely spicy shrimp, bitter onions, and a serviceable sun-dried tomato pesto paste that seemed out of place. (The zucchini pancake, on the other hand, was delicious: pliant, moist, and well flavored.) The sun-dried tomato worked better in the sun-dried tomato hummus—tasty with a genuine chickpea taste, served with a generous baggy of baked pita chips.
I hadn't planned on venturing into the dessert offerings, but if you can resist pistachio baklava ($3.50) on a menu, you're far more disciplined than I. Obviously, because it's baklava with pistachios, it was quite good—my only complaint was that the bottom had gotten soggy. A small price to pay for such a delicious mouthful.
Tavern on the Green is located near the park entrance at 77th Street and Central Park West. Go behind the visitor's center to find the food truck courtyard (map).