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Mar 23, 2007 09:00 AM

Turkish Kitchen vs. Ali Baba vs. Ethos

I have been charged with organizing a dinner for this coming Tuesday, March 27, to follow a lecture to be held at the Williams Club (39th and Madison, I think). I've been asked to find a reasonably inexpensive place in the near vicinity where ten people (give or take one or two) can enjoy good food and catch up. We'll be making a reservation for 9PM.

I've scoured the board since I rarely, if ever, eat in that neighborhood, and am now trying to decide between Turkish Kitchen, Ali Baba, and Ethos. All three seem to have their fans, and by looking at their menus, it looks as though we could probably get out of each for around $40 a piece (tax and tip included).

Since I've never eaten at any of these places, I need your help. Which is your favorite, and why? Am I overlooking something good? I don't want to somehow choose the worst of the three (though I'm sure the other guests would be gracious enough not to say anything).

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  1. I'd pick Ali Baba. Of three, I like their food the best. I took a group of 12 there a year or two ago, and they had no trouble accomodating us. Everyone left the dinner happy.

    1. To start, just to clarify, Turkish Kitchen and Ali Baba serve Turkish food while Ethos' cuisine is Greek. And there are significant differences. Greek cuisine excels in the area of fish and seafood while Turkish menus have limited options in that area. When it comes to mezzes (appetizers), there are dishes that overlap, but there are those on Turkish menus that won't be found on a Greek menu and vice versa.

      Turkish Kitchen is a favorite of ours. We have have been there countless times for lunch and dinner. The food is always perfectly prepared and delicious. We have also been to Ethos many times, and the same can be said for the food there. Both have very efficient service. However, they have very different atmospherics. Turkish Kitchen is a large place on two levels, has attractive decor with an upscale feel, and tends to be fairly quiet. Ethos is a relatively small place, and its bright, taverna-style setting has a boisterous vibe. Between these two, for bigger groups, Turkish Kitchen would probably be the more comfortable choice.

      I've only been to Ali Baba once and, while I thought the food was good, in my view, Turkish Kitchen is better. However, there are many Hounds who prefer Ali Baba. My meal there was several years ago before they moved to their current location. Perhaps someone who has been to Ali Baba more recently than I will chime in with info regarding the current space.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RGR

        Good point, RGR, and one I should have clarified in my original post. I'm aware that Turkish Kitchen and Ali Baba are Turkish, while Ethos is Greek. I picked these three restaurants because they seemed among the more interesting options given the parameters I have to work within, not because I believed they all serve the same cuisine. Thanks for noting the atmosphere at Turkish Kitchen - it seems more along the lines what I'm looking for.

      2. If you would be willing to do Morrocan, Barbere on 36th Street between Madison and Fifth is close to the Williams Club. Food was good, and they had a nice assortment of apps.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Squeaky

          It's Barbes on East 36th Street and although it has very good food, it's quite small and might be difficult to accomodate 10 people.

          Ethos has wonderful fresh fish that is simply grilled and interesting veggie sides.

          1. re: maxinem

            I haven't been to Barbes, but there is another Moroccan restaurant in that area. Darna is on 2nd, b/t 34th & 35th. Very tasty food and a Rick's Cafe-type ambiance. They have have a couple of tables in the back that might be able to accommodate 10 people.


        2. I'd pick Ali Baba. I like it better than Turkish kitchen for Turkish food. Ethos is good, but it's also pricier and may be harder to stick to the $40pp limit depending on whether or not you order alcohol.

          1. I love both Ali Baba and Ethos. But, yes, Ali Baba is Turkish and Ethos is Greek. We went to Turkish Kitchen and the chicken they served was raw inside. Despite that, I still think that the food at Ali Baba is better. Ethos is excellent if you like Greek.