I paid a happy first visit to Bosphorus, a Turkish restaurant in Cary. I knew I was in good hands from the start, as, peering into the kitchen, I noticed the chef chopping onions with marvellous economy and efficiency.
Atmosphere: With only eight or ten tables, the place has the cozy unpretentious air of a neighborhood restaurant. This is my ideal atmosphere.
Service: We were served by a young Turkish woman, the only waitress in the restaurant. She was perfect: welcoming without being obtrusive. This was a blessed relief from the typical American college-age waiter who invariably interrupts a conversation to ask things like "You guys doing okay?" And worst of all: "You guys still working on that?" -- as one's fork is suspended midway between plate and mouth.
Chow: Very nice. We had the fried eggplant appetizer, which was the best thing I've eaten in the Triangle for some time. The dish consists of crispy fried eggplant piled with sweet stewed tomatos and swimming in a tangy yoghurt sauce. The tomato-yoghurt contrast was a perfect tension. We followed this with a Turkish pizza: pita dough rolled and stuffed with feta, onions, tomato, and parsley. The filling was piquant and the flavor nicely balanced, but I found the bread a bit generic. No crust-crumb structure, not much flavor. Overall a passable (and sizeable) dish, but not one I'd reorder. This was followed by a shared entree of lamb shish kabob. The lamb was tender and well flavored, but the most pleasant surprise was the side of bulgar pilaf. Unlike most side dishes, which exist merely to take up space on the plate, this had a toothsome al dente texture and a subtle fragrance of tomato. I loved it. Again, the pita that came with the lamb did not thrill me: chewy and soft, not very interesting. But this is a quibble.
Cost: $35 including tip for a largish feast. Very reasonable.
Bosphorus will probably wind up becoming a top ten restaurant in my annual ratings. I plan to return in about two weeks when I next have to be in Cary.
Bosphorus' menu has much in common with that of Xios, the not-bad Greek restaurant in Apex. I much prefer Bosphorus, which has a lighter touch and subtler sensility.