After reading posts upon posts about Nazar, mostly positive reviews...I've finally made the trek to Sunnyside from Bayside and the hunt for parking.
I'm not familiar with Turkish cuisine at all, so my husband and I thought we'd go for it. We didn't really have much of an idea of what we were in for, and hoping for the best. WOW...it's was really great. Here's why...
Service: impeccable. When going to, for example, Gramercy Tavern, I kinda expect excellent service given it's stature and history in NYC. But not this little place off Queens Blvd. (surrounded by morbid traffic signs). As soon as we walked in, we were immediately told by several of the waitstaff that they were sorry and asked if we didn't mind waiting.
Somehow sensing we were Turkish cuisine virgins and a bit timid, the waiter suggested that he provide dishes typical of the cuisine and the restaurant. We happily but cautiously agreed and awaited our adventure. He was so friendly and helpful, we felt he would do us no wrong.
All throughout our delicious meal, various waiters and waitresses asked how things were and went into detail what our foods were and how some Turks like it dressed (e.g. tripe soup with vinegar/garlic dressing).
Nazar does an excellent job of toting an excellent cuisine, without the intimidation factor so common amongst ethnic restaurants. Decorations were very tasteful reflecting the cuisine but not over the top like some Mexican restaurants do with the oversized sombrero and chile wreathes hanging over each table.
My husband and I shared the following, all of which were great (sorry, don't have the formal names):
1) tripe soup
2) homemade (and damn worth it) phyllo dough with goat cheese with tomato coulis (damn good coulis)
3) boneless quail wrapped in grape leaves with pilaf (we normally hate grape leaves, but holy cow, it was #$%&*@ good) I inhaled my portion so fast, I was close to stealing my husband's off his plate
4) lamb shank wrapped with eggplant with mashed potatoes. WOWeeeeeeee, this was excellent, fall of the bone, scrumptious. I try to limit my carb intake, but I used the mash to wipe up the phenomenal sauce. Plus the cooked tomato provided enough acidity to counterbalance the whole shabang...again, another dish I wish I didn't have to share.
5) chicken stuffed with pilaf, currants, pistachios, etc. with a mint/lemon sauce. another one where I violated the no double dipping rule. I couldn't tell if I liked the chicken or the sauce more, so I kept on mopping it up.
6) the quince w/vanilla ice cream was great. although I'm not the biggest quince fan, it was a good way to end the meal, esp. with the turkish tea.
The whole experience was so worth it and phenomenal that I can't remember how much it cost. Not expensive by any means and worth the 20-min. hunt for parking.
I'm headed back for the pizza and pistachio baklava my neighbors had. I wish I could've distracted them to steal a taste.