Sunday, March 9, 2008

Turkish delight

A windy day in the city. Two people sit in the window on the corner of Second Avenue and 74th Street, the sunlight reflecting off a neighboring tower and onto the table in front of them. The restaurant is A La Turka, and the table is covered in an easy sprawl of what has become finger food. Hands are dripping the oils of eggplant and olives, weaving in-between tall glasses of ice water and occasionally smearing each other with yogurt dip, at which laughter, as hazy as the afternoon light, wells over onto the plates below.

That's right! This girl finally got off campus and planed, trained, and automobiled down to the city for the weekend with her boy. We ate very well. Breakfast at the Whitney before the biennial. A two buck slice of pizza. A Spanish meal with the family in the Village. And then, then we ducked into an alluring red restaurant, called A La Turka, for lunch on Sunday afternoon. We paid 18 dollars for a mixed appetizer plate and 8 for grilled calamari. Each tiny Turkish coffee was 4 dollars. Thank God we weren't paying in euros, although something tells me this would be cheaper in Turkey than on the Upper East Side. That said, it was totally delicious.

We got the appetizer plate so we could try a little of everything. Humus, char-grilled eggplant salad, spinach tarator, cacik, tarama salatasi, eggplant with tomato sauce - all swept up with a tortilla-like flatbread. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the tarama salatasi, a spread with red caviar, lemon and olive oil. It was too fishy a flavor for me, and by comparison the grilled calamari were fleshy and buttery, with so delicate a flavor of lemon.

And the Turkish coffee? It reminded me of drinking an espresso in Florence before morning classes at culinary school. I don't drink coffee, so I can't really say more about it than this: I liked it, and I don't drink coffee. I highly recommend the place.

A La Turka
1417 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10021
(212) 744-2424

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