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Turkish Kitchen - what's the big deal?

  • p

So I saw such high praise for this place here and went for dinner tonight.

Appetizer - Imam Bayildi. Kind of slimy and totally mediocre, though I ate it. Turkuaz's version is so much better! I like it better at Pylos, too.

Main - Etli Bamya - Rather lean, delicious lamb, nice pickled little okra, char-grilled supermarket tomato sections, tomato sauce, accompanied by a bit of rice. Except for the lamb, the rest of the dish (which was a large portion of it) was merely good.

Drink - Two glasses of Aroma Visne, an excellent dark cherry juice.

The meal cost $28.18 including tax but not tip. A fair value, but really, the meal was just good, nothing special. Did I order wrong?

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  1. I'm not a big fan of Turkish Kitchen either. I prefer Ali Baba in that neighborhood.

    1. same for me but I am planning to give it another try -- interested in the Sunday brunch deal.

      expect to see some postive replies shortly from other chowhounders.

      1 Reply
      1. re: eve

        I went to the Sunday brunch and I was not too impressed. I also tried dinner there once and also not impressed. I don't think I have any intention to go back unless the chef changes.

        One of my favorite places for Turkish is
        70 W 71st St, New York 10023
        Btwn Columbus Ave & CPW

      2. I am surprised there have been raves about it. I used to live nearby, and it was just an average dinner place if I couldn't think of anything better. I wouldn't send anyone there.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Wilfrid

          Thanks for your feedback all, and especially you, Wilfrid, because I've known and respected your taste from the time you were a regular on another website years ago. Do you particularly like any restaurants around there? What do you think of Ali Baba, which Lucia mentioned? (Where is Ali Baba, by the way?)

          1. re: Pan

            Ali Baba is on 34th btwn 2nd and 3rd and I agree that it's much better than Turkish Kitchen.

            1. re: blonde tomato

              ali baba has great appetizers, and fantastic fresh baked bread, but i don't love their meats/kebabs.

            2. re: Pan

              While I, too, respect Wilfrid's opinion, when it comes to Turkish Kitchen, I disagree with him, as well as with Lucia and eve. I've eaten there too many times to count and think the food is excellent. Obviously, a case of "chacun a son gout."

              Ali Baba is on 34th St., b/t 2nd & 3rd Avs. I've eaten there once, and the food was fine though I don't think it was better than Turkish Kitchen.


              1. re: RGR

                Do you think I ordered wrong at Turkish Kitchen? Because if not, I can only assume we have a fairly significant difference in taste. I've been eating Imam Bayildi ever since I was about 8 or 9 years old and my older brother took me to the oddly-named Genghis Khan's Bicycle, which in spite of the name was a Turkish restaurant on Columbus Av. in the 70s. I'm now 41 and have eaten Imam Bayildi all over the place, and most renditions were better than Turkish Kitchen's. The imam sure wouldn't have fainted over that dish the other day!

          2. i went there once and didn't care for it that much...i thought the food was decent but nothing to get too excited about...and i didn't like the vibe/service: it felt kind of like a pretentious-yet-affordable date restaurant in a college town where the staff puts on airs and students pretend they are going somewhere exotic/fancy...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Simon

              Yeah, I agree about the pretentiousness, but I wouldn't care if they backed it up with great food.

            2. i won't go back to turkish kitchen after a very egregious service issue i witnessed about 6 months ago. i used to really like the food, but i'd rather eat mcdonalds then turkish kitchen, and i don't like mcdonalds.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jon

                i also agree about their service--had a birthday dinner here in march, where they snatched away our half-full plates of food in order to hurry us through our meal.

              2. I've been there once but wouldn't go back again. I agree with cervisiam that the service is very bad and rude.

                My favorite Turkish food place is Taksim. It's on 2nd ave. between 54th & 55th. Great service and delicious fresh food. The meat dishes are very good. Especially like their shepperd salad, lima bean salad and eggplant salad.

                1 Reply
                1. re: pulsemaker

                  The delicious bargain here is the fresh whole grilled branzini served over
                  salad for about $14

                2. The prix fix lunch at Turkish Kitchen is excellent, $13.95 for appetizer, salad, entree, dessert & turkish coffee. I highly recommend the eggplant app. & lamb shish kabob. The service can be a little brusque, but ultimately always seems friendly.

                  1. Taksim and Ali Baba are both fine as local/neighborhood places but the menu and preparation of Turkish Kitchen is far more interesting, atmosphere better.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: serious

                      Interesting, really? What is interesting there?

                      1. re: Pan

                        People have done studies about colors and Red does attract the most attention. Well according to the majority of these comments it should probably mean STOP and don't go!

                        1. re: Pan

                          Ok, I can't tell you the names in Turkish but the liver appetizer
                          and the bulgur lamb croquette are superior. The shepherd salad and
                          hummus very good. Had a stuffed chicken as main course. There are
                          many other things I look forward to trying on the next trip. The
                          offerings, extensive.

                          1. re: serious

                            Thanks. If I ever go back, I'll try to keep your suggestions in mind.