Monday, March 5, 2012


It's not that Thanksgiving bird but the country and it's cuisine. I was in the Sheepshead Bay, Emmons Avenue area of Brooklyn to attend a concert at Kingsborough Community College, specifically Billy Stritch.

Deveka, Ernie and I thought we'd do lunch. Not having gone to many Turkish restaurants I chose Istanbul. Saw an "A" on the outside and appeared pretty nice on the inside. Istanbul is a father and son operation. Riza Atas and the main chef and son Hicri. Hearing that all of the food is prepared on the premises I wanted to do a sampling.

A bottle of Turkish red wine to start from a company called Yakut. The label read "Kavaklidere".

On to the menu. Appetizers. Balik Corbasi - Fish Soup had fresh salmon mixed with vegetables and dill that kind of reminded me of chicken soup with salmon instead of chicken. Havyar Tarama - Caviar Tarama of codfish caviar roe whipped with lemon and olive oil. For a hot appetizer I ordered Hamsi Tava - Fried Anchovies. This is not an "out of the can" ilk. Fresh anchovies and not salty or "fishy" tasting. Then there was the Midye Tava, Fried Mussels. The fresh mussels are taken out of the shell and delicately pan fried and served with a home made garlic sauce.

The Turks must love salad as we not only got a full one, but seemed to come with a few other courses. The particular full one was the Yesil Salad - Green Salad of romaine lettuce, arugula, cucumbers and tomatoes with lemon juice and olive oil.

Akdeniz Levregi, Imported Mediterranean Sea Bass was served whole. Our wonder waiter asked if we wanted it deboned and it was done. Different salad from the Green. Great mild tasting white fish...meaty, too.

Meat course. Karisik Izgara or Mixed Grill. Perfect opportunity to taste their chicken kebab, shish kebab, meat ball (made with Turkish herbs), lamb chop and I think there were some slices of gyro. Most of it was not spicy for my taste. Deveka and Ernie are lovers of hot spices and garlic.

There was a table of desserts none of which looked familiar, other than cheesecake. I went for Kunefe, a traditional Turkish dessert made with shredded filo dough and sweet cheese served hot with a honey syrup.

Another traditional was the Sweet Pumpkin. The pumpkin is marinated with sugar and baked. The sugar syrup from the pumpkin is poured over it and whipped cream topped with walnuts is the accompaniment.

Had to have something chocolate. Chocolate Biscuit Cake was tea biscuits layered in between with chocolate pudding and walnuts atop.

Between courses I checked out the decor and found some interesting looking pieces of art, crafts and Istanbul history.

Riza tells me that they close off the street on these few blocks when the Turkish dignitary arrives. I think he loves the food as much as we did.

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