Hello again readers, this is Lisette Reyes, guest blogger for HVRW. The place I tried for Restaurant Week is Turkish Meze in Mamaroneck. Its modest storefront is no indication of the splendid flavors found within. By definition, “meze” is the Turkish word for any small plate. It’s no wonder there were over a dozen appetizers on the Restaurant Week menu alone!
As a friend and I walked into the restaurant we were immediately greeted warmly by the hostess. Because it was a weeknight I did not expect to see many patrons there but it was buzzing with families and couples, many of which appeared to be regulars. There was a casual atmosphere with traditional Turkish music playing softly in the background. The walls were simply decorated with an assortment of pictures, small colorful tapestries, and a collection of Mediterranean string instruments.
The first thing that caught my attention was the extensive selection available as part of the Restaurant Week menu: 19 appetizers, 13 entrees, and 5 desserts. What an advantage for diners who prefer more selection! Immediately brought to our table was a basket of warm whole-wheat pita bread along with a tasty kalamata olive tapenade. For our first appetizer we shared the ezme, which was a relish of finely chopped vegetables mixed with a pepper and tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, and olive oil. The sweetness of the pomegranate balanced the spicy peppers and the bold tomato taste perfectly. This was my favorite part of the meal! Our second appetizer, zucchini pancakes, consisted of shredded zucchini mixed with vegetables, pan-fried then served with a yogurt drizzle on top. The yogurt complemented the richness of the pancakes, which were crisp on the outside and tender inside.
I had the lahana dolmasi (stuffed cabbage) as my main dish. A delicate, light tomato sauce topped the gently flavored lamb and rice mixture encased in the cabbage leaves. It was accompanied by a side or yogurt. My friend had the kofte (grilled lamb patties). They were aromatic, seasoned exotically with onions, cumin, and parsley then grilled with perfect char lines. White rice and salad rounded off the plate. Although this dish tasted great, it was a little disappointing to find tough, gristly pieces throughout the meat. The portions were so substantial that we had to take half of our meals home in order to make room for dessert (and we’re not complaining because the leftovers tasted great the next day)! We were adventurous and had the Turkish cherry juice with our meal…yum!
For dessert we tried the almond pudding which was creamy, light, and served cold. We also shared the tel kadayif; baked shredded wheat with pistachios, cinnamon, and honey. It was a crispy and sweet delight.
Overall, our experience at Turkish Meze was enjoyable. The food was nicely presented, tasted fresh, and was expertly seasoned. The environment was comfortable and the staff was hospitable. We look forward to returning soon!