Source: Anne Szustek of "Brooklyn Based"
Who knew that Midwood had such a dazzling array of eateries exclusively specializing in Turkish cuisine? Apparently Brooklyn Based’s Anne Szustek knew, because she wrote the ultimate compendium on where to go and what to order if one has the inclination to fress on some Agean or Black Sea delicacies beyond the borders of our favorite neighborhood:
Brooklyn’s Turkish community is located in the southern reaches of the borough. There are Turkish restaurants and shops in Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay but you’re most likely to hear Turkish spoken on the street in Midwood. Home to Brooklyn College and painted Victorian houses, the neighborhood is easily accessible via the B, Q and F trains. Kings Highway and Coney Island Avenue are among its main thoroughfares; the Kings Highway B/Q stop is a good starting point to explore the Turkish community.
The Turks, for their part, use yogurt as liberally as mustard or ketchup—atop pasta, roast meats and vegetables alike. Casual fans of Turkish cuisine may be well acquainted with savory, spicy shish kebabs—another Turkish word. But these skewered treats hardly scratch the surface of the country’s cuisine. Turkey, straddling two continents and 81 provinces, is a hodgepodge of flavors.
Among the places she checks out are Taci’s Beyti (1955 Coney Island Avenue), Güllüoğlu Bakery (1985 Coney Island Avenue) and Turkish Café (1618 East 16th Street).
But beware, Anne points out: “Just don’t go to a Turkish restaurant and eat falafel, which is not a Turkish dish at all—it’s actually nigh impossible to find in the country outside of snooty Istanbul restaurants catering to expats and moneyed Turks who often developed a taste for it while studying abroad in the U.S. or U.K.”
Ah, the more you know, eh? What are some of your favorite Turkish spots?
Manti. (Source: Camera on autopilot/Flickr)
Ever sit in Anatolian Gyro on Sheepshead Bay Road (and who among us hasn’t?), happily munching on a refreshing cornucopia of humus, stuffed grape leaves, baba ghanoush, tabule, or one of their succulent lamb or chicken kebabs, and think to yourself, “Gee, I wish I could cook food as awesome as this?”
Well, good news: Now you actually can make food as awesome as that, because those mind-readers at the Turkish Cultural Center of Brooklyn knew you wanted to learn how to cook Turkish food, and they are not ones to disappoint.
Turkish Cooking Classes will be held once a month at the Turkish Cultural Center of Brooklyn (245 Avenue U between West 4th Street and Van Sicklen Street), beginning April 23 at 3 p.m.
This month’s featured recipes will be Manti and Burma Baklava.
RSVP to the center by calling (646) 241-6600 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome back to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.
It’s a Friday in lent. What’s a good Catholic going to eat? Pizza? Greens Kutabs? Fried Clams? A Bob Salad? Pancakes? Potato Vareniki? All good choices, but not right for this Friday night. I simply can’t make up my mind.
But why should I have to choose? Yes, it’s lent and self-denial is one of the tenets of the faith, but I’m always a bit naughty. No outright sin mind you, but I’m going to push the envelope a little. Tonight, it’s the “mixed appetizers” plate from Anatolian Gyro.
So, is this plate like dancing on the edge of hell? Keep reading to find out.
It appears Halikarnas, the Turkish seafood restaurant at 3075 Emmons Avenue, has gone out of business.
The property owner told reader Arthur Borko that it shut down about a month ago, saying not enough people were coming by. Which sounds about right, since it took us a month to find out.
About that property owner: it’s next door neighbor Jeff Brown, who also owns Maria’s Ristorante Italiano and the building that it sits in. Brown put the Halikarnas building up for sale back in September, and it’s currently listed at $995,000.
Village Voice readers couldn't figure out what this was or where it came from. It's Turkish octopus casserole from Marmaris. - Photo courtesy of Village Voice
We live here, so we know all about Sheepshead Bay’s hidden culinary gems. There are the little bodegas with back-room burritos, the strangely decorated bars on quiet side streets with staggeringly cheap lunches, and the waterfront eateries that manage to go below radar. There are food carts that survive despite rhyme or reason (a hot dog cart by Doody’s? Really?), and dim sum dining where we don’t know what we’re ordering. There’s fried chicken where a sweatshop used to be, and a bagel place that’s been there so long no one knows what came before.
These are our treasures, and they’re known only to us locals.
That was, at least, until Village Voice’s Robert Sietsema began plundering our neighborhood a few weeks ago. Several of the venerable food critic’s recent pieces have eyed the nabe’s gastronomical glories. And all of them sing our praises.
Keep reading to see what Sietsema wrote about Sheepshead Bay recently, and our take on his reviews.
Site of the new Masal Cafe
Masal Cafe is one of two establishments in Lundy’s to survive the building’s rebirth, and business appears to be good. It first expanded from a tiny cafe to a spacious restaurant several years ago (after the Lundy’s “mini-mall” idea flopped), and now they’re snatching up a second Emmons Avenue location.
Signs unfurled on the old Dunkin’ Donuts lot just a few short weeks ago, with Masal’s name all over it. The new “Masal Cafe Seaside” is not a move; a manager at Masal’s Lundy’s branch told me that they were staying put and this would be a secondary waterfront location. She said the plan was to open in two months, which is possible but not probable, given the amount of work that needs to be done on the site.
What do you think? Is a new Masal location going to be a watery haven, or dead-on-the-water?
Photo by Arthur Borko
Lara Turkish Cuisine is now open at 2255 Emmons Avenue. The location was previously Bay Shish Kebab, which we reported closed back in early March. At the time, the neighbors at Emmons Bagels told us they were just renovating, but obviously they didn’t know what they were talking about. Thankfully, they make good bagels, so we’ll let it slide this time.
Bay Shish Kebab at 2255 Emmons Avenue has papered its windows and closed its doors. But Turkish food lovers, don’t despair. A clerk at the neighboring bagel shop tells us they’re renovating and should be back open in less than a month. Calls to the restaurant were met with the loving screech of a fax machine.
We’ll let you know if we find out more about Bay Shish Turkish Cuisine, especially the mystery behind its two names.
Courtesy of Gene Berardelli
THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED: “Halikarnas Reopen and Clean, Lost Big To DOH Mess”
One of the handful of Sheepshead Bay’s Turkish restaurants closed down last week by order of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Halikarnas at 3075 Emmons Avenue (between Batchelder Street and Bay View Court) was shuttered after it failed its pre-permit inspection on January 5. According to a press officer at the Health Department, “The inspection found the restaurant operating without running water at the three compartment sinks, hand washing station and dishwasher located in its basement’s food prep area. Other factors that contributed to the restaurant’s closing included liquid waste found on the floor of the basement’s storage area, 60 mice droppings, and 10 live roaches in the restaurant’s kitchen and basement kitchen areas.”
We never tried eating here, but both Yelp reviews show the place is hit or miss. Many Yelp reviewers enjoyed the Turkish cuisine, while an almost equal amount were revolted by molding desserts or rude wait staff.
The DOH inspection reports, meanwhile, gave them grades that changed as drastically as an NBC contract (Ed. — OOF!!). They frequently jumped between highs of 79 point and single digit lows. Mind you – this is like golf, and par is 27.
(Photo by Ray Johnson)
It’s a few months, already, since Hosta Halal Gyro has been gone from the Bay scene and the space is still not filled. The empty space at 1520 Sheepshead Bay Road is currently in need of a tenant who can pay the $3,500. That’s a lot of gyros, so with that rent, it’s no wonder the place couldn’t stay in business.
We are left wondering, though, if the previous owner decided to leave or if business was just not doing well. Just across the street, is the super-busy Anatolian Gyro shop which has only sit-down or take-out service, so Hosta Halal offered a quick bite of Turkish fare without having to leave a tip or wait for the server to not serve you any water.
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