I took my own advice last night (see the Coney Island Ave/Kensington Recommendations thread below)and heeding the suggestion of the guys at Garden on Eden on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights went to eat Turkish food at Taci's Beyti on CIA between Ave P and Kings Highway. I should preface this report by saying that I have been to Veranda and Sahara, two other Turkish restaurants also on CIA. Veranda used to be wonderful until they lost their chef. A real shame since some of the food was exceptional (especially the bread, Shepard's salad with feta and pide). Sahara, to my mind, is the Turkish equivalent of McDonald's. Kind of industrial, cook-it-up-get-it-out-as-fast-as-you-can food. Utilitarian Turkish. Edible but no 'wows' from this camp. Last weekend I stumbled upon a pretty decent Turkish place out in Glen Cove, Long Island called Wild Fig. The food was quite good but I should save that for the TriState board.
But last night at Taci's Beyti was just amazing. The place is really two restaurants next door to one another. They are not physically connected on the inside but I was assured by my waitperson that both spaces were,in fact, the same restaurant. The menu didn't offer a mezze platter of selected appetizers so I asked my waiter if the kitchen could make me a dish of a few ('few' being the operative word here)different things since this was my first time at Taci's. Sure, they'd be happy to accommodate me. I continued to order a small Shepard's salad (no feta--probably a mistake) and the Lahmacun pide. Some time later the waiter brings out a plate of mezze that was a lot more than I had bargained for. Hummos, stuffed grape leaves (the best I've ever had), eggplant spread, eggplant with spicy tomato sauce, mushroom salad (with cornicon!) and cacik (yogurt with cucumber, mint, parsley and garlic). Every item on that plate was fresh, perfectly spiced, distinct in flavor and texture and absolutley delicious.The traditional warm Turkish bread was served along side. Brown and crispy exterior with sesame seeds on top--soft and light inside. The pide came out on a metal tray. Three lahmacun each folded in half overlapping eachother. Along side were sliced tomatoes, slices of white radish, a handful of Italian parsely leaves, wedges of lemon and sweet, crunchy raw onion sprinkled with sumac. The pide were perfect. The crust was crisp around the edges and the underside held it crunch but it was still soft and tender enough to be pliable and retain chewiness. The lamb/spice topping was hot and savory--very well balanced in flavor and the texture was even with no large pieces of any of the components. I ate two of them occassionally dipping the pide into some leftover dollop of hummos or the great eggplant/spicy tomato sauce mezze. I forgot to talk about the olives on the appetizer plate. The best and spiciest I've had at a Turkish restaurant. Black, salty and meaty and hot (in spiciness not temp)and they really enhanced the taste of all the apps--great condiment pairing. And, oh, to drink I had the imported Turkish cherry juice. I know that sounds like a weird beverage for this meal but it turned out to be strangely appropriate and very delicious.
So, quanto damage, you ask? Under $25.
Here's my question. Why did I never eat this well in Turkey?????