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Where to Eat Turkish Food in NYC

We’re sitting in the dining room of my favorite Turkish restaurant and the off-menu mixed appetizer platter lands on the table with a thud.

If you wanted to be charitable, you’d call it a pile. Nameless purées and vegetable stews edge up against each other, propping up sticks of fried dough. I’m ready to dig in, but other folks at my table aren’t so sure.

“What is this exactly? How are we supposed to eat it?”

The answer to the second question is one of the golden rules of good eating out: There’s no one ‘right’ way to eat anything, so stop worrying, dig in, and let your tongue sort it out.

As for the first question: To the first-timer, Turkish food is full of unfamiliar names, but you already know everything that’s on the plate. Yogurt. Eggplant. Tomatoes. Lamb. Loads of olive oil. These are ingredients we all know and love. The Turks just do it better.

Vegetable-rich, grill-friendly, gently-spiced-yet-full-flavored Turkish food has never built a rep in New York like Italian, Greek, or even Levantine cuisines. But once you taste the extra depth and creaminess in a bowl of yogurty cacık, there’s no going back to tzatziki. Few cultures have greater fluency with kebabs, and Turkish bread-baking is just as sophisticated as French or Italian.

The problem, I suspect, is a lack of celebrity endorsement and trendy gimmicks. Turkish cooking, with its focus on doing as little as possible to great ingredients, is the opposite of a gimmick, and American eaters aren’t familiar with Turkey’s celebrity chefs and culinary boosters. So let’s take a minute to give Turkish food some overdue love by highlighting a few must-visit restaurants across New York.

In truth, the city’s Turkish restaurants offer only a thin slice of the vast, regionally distinct food of Turkey. And too many mediocre ones that simply don’t live up to the “cook great produce simply” mantra. That’s why I’m excluding some popular places to focus on six stellar options (plus a bonus round) that get this vibrant cuisine right. And once you visit them, you won’t want your kebabs cooked any other way.

To read more about each restaurant kisted below, please visit

Hazar Turkish Kebab 7224 5th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11209; (718)238-4040
Kofte Piyaz 881 5th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11232; (347)227-7036 WEBSITE 
Taskin Bakery 103 Hazel St., Paterson, NJ 07503(973)278-9555 WEBSITE 
$$ Liman Restaurant 2710 Emmons Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11235; (718)769-3322 WEBSITE

Source: Serious Eats

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November 2017
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