Taksim East Village
Taksim now has a branch in the East Village, at 99 2nd Av., just south of 6th St. I was excited to see the name appear toward the end of the gut-renovation of that location, because I had read so much about the 54th St. location on this board. Thanks, Chowhounds! I went to the East Village location for dinner yesterday with a friend. The place is great! We shared a platter of four appetizers ($11): Cacik (very flavorful yogurt sauce), Lentil Balls (these were fantastic!), Stuffed Cabbage Leaves (stuffed with rice, pinenuts, currants, and dill, and really tasty!), and (pickled) Artichoke Hearts with Fava Beans. I then ordered a main dish of Lamb Shank ($14.50 -- boneless lamb wrapped in eggplant and cooked in a tomato sauce), which we were told is slow-cooked for 8 hours. The meat is incredibly tender and still pink -- not overcooked! This dish is not aggressively spiced in the least but is just a really good and very hearty stew, arguably too big for one person but good for sharing. Very pleasant bread was provided. With two bottles of Turkish cherry juice ($1.50 apiece), the total was about $30. And with our check, we were served two pieces of wonderful Turkish delight, which was so delicate and at the same time had such a concentrated flavor, it reminded me much more of good French pates de fruit than garden-variety Turkish delight. Every single thing we ordered was of really superior quality, and everything we looked at at the appetizer and main dish counters looked great. I plan on being a regular.
It might interest fans of the 54th St. location to know that the owner (?) told us that from now on, the food will be made at the East Village location and trucked up to the smaller 54th St. location.
The East Village location is attractive, service is friendly, and the food is very good. All this place needs is patrons. Go now; in a few months, I'm willing to bet the place will be hopping.