Restaurants & Bars

Manhattan

Efendi on East 54th St & 2nd Avenue

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Efendi on East 54th St & 2nd Avenue

Flynn | May 14, 2003 02:17 PM

Had a terrific lunch today at this Turkish restaurant that bills itself as 'fast served Turkish food.' I believe their description does not reflect just how good the food is.

There is no written menu but an appetizer menu is posted outside. One display case shows all the apps and dips and a steam table had four entrees that change daily. Today the soup was yogurt soup and entrees were baked chicken with mashed potatoes, Moussaka, Turkish beef meatballs with red peppers served over rice and one other that I can't recall. I didn't ask prices for the entrees as I opted for the appetizers which should really be called 'Turkish Tapas' because they are very good-sized plates and totally satisfying. I had borek (small cigar-shaped greaseless egg rolls) stuffed with spinach and mild feta cheese; delicious approx. $5.75 ; fresh artichoke hearts with fava beans in a lemon oil dressing; terrific $4, red lentil loaf ($4) that was amazingly tasty. Soft pita/bagel type bread is served and I filled the bread with the red lentils. Total was $16 before tip which also included a bottle of sparkling water. I didn't see wine so maybe it's BYOW.

At first when I ordered the apps I thought I might not have enough to eat but each small platter was a very good size. They'd be excellent to take-out or a bunch of diners could order several and share like tapas.

I'm definitely going back there when in that area. There was a very happy buzz in the room and I enjoyed watching one of the female chefs putter and walk back & forth from the kitchen to the display counter. The owner is a fun guy and you can tell he really takes his food seriously. He told me they change the menu every day so there's that element of surprise that's nice.

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