a mediterranean/turkish dinner

ali nazik

some of my friends are either picky eaters or not very adventurous so i was pleasantly surprised when the girls picked a mediterranean/turkish restaurant saturday night. it is called smyrna, which apparently is also the old name of a large city in turkey, and is located on what’s known as “restaurant row.” it’s on 46th street, past eighth avenue, very close to the theaters around times square.


i seem to be on an eggplant kick these days. so i ordered ali nazik, above, hand-chopped lamb served over smoked pureed eggplant. the eggplant was mixed with garlic yogurt and the lamb was drizzled with fresh tomato sauce. it was definitely different and it was yummy! the yogurt made the eggplant creamier and the yogurt made it a bit tangy? that flavor is not unfamiliar for us who dip our grilled eggplants (tortang talong) in soy sauce and lemon.

kuzu pirzola
one of my cousins, who had initially ordered chicken, was ultimately persuaded to ask for lamb instead. she got the kuzu pirzola, which is a dish of marinated baby lamb chops, and she did not regret her choice. the lamb was grilled to perfection — very tender and flavorful. she was worried about ango and it had none of that. it was served with something that resembled rice. i thought it was couscous, apparently it wasn’t a grain. you can see it on the right in the photo above.
coban kavurma

ateng E had coban kavurma, chunks of lamb sauteed in mushrooms, green peppers, shallots, tomatoes and spices. i had a taste and it reminded me of our afritada.

baklava
of course, no dinner is complete without dessert. we ordered baklava (and these were made of pistachio) and something called kunefe made of shredded yufka (dough) with a layer of cheese in between and topped with pistachios and honey. had only a bite of each. was worried about going into sugar shock!
kunefe
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