Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bits & Morsels

Baklava from Istanbul Restaurant in Brooklyn.

Come dine with me.
Reading about DPC and JH’s trip to London this past week not only got me craving fish and chips, but it inspired me to take a little trip of my own. I hopped on the subway and headed to Istanbul. No, not Istanbul, Turkey but Istanbul Restaurant in Brooklyn, located at 1715 Emmons Avenue (right near Sheepshead Bay).

From the minute you sit down, the food just keeps on coming. First the pide bread, which is served piping hot. Pide is a Turkish bread that is moister and doughier than pita. Next, an assortment of spreads, all of them delectable, especially the homemade hummus. It had the perfect fluff factor and you can taste each freshly blended ingredient; from the garlic to the freshly squeezed lemon juice to the cumin and paprika.
Istanbul Restaurant, 1715 Emmons Ave, Brooklyn NY. 718-368-3587.
It is that freshness, seemingly in abundance at Istanbul, that is lacking in many other restaurants. On numerous occasions, this variety of food has felt heavy going down and over seasoned, but Riza Atas, the owner and the heart of the restaurant, is always keeping an eye on the kitchen (when he's not out front making people feel welcome). It say a lot about a restaurant when the owner eats almost every meal there. He opened the restaurant over 10 years ago because he simply wanted a place to go that would serve quality food that he likes ot eat. The chef, Hussein Kaya, once worked for the President of Turkey.

The restaurant recently went through a renovation and it looks great. The décor is a blend of Turkish artifacts and intricate hand painted patterns. Besides offering a chunk of meat dishes, Istanbul is also very accommodating to the fish eater. This is the place to order grilled whole fish. In this case it was Branzino. The result: flavorful and moist with a crispy skin. For dessert don't think about ordering anything other than a cup of tea and the baklava. The baklava at Istanbul is assembled in Turkey and baked in Brooklyn. It’s light, flaky, and just sweet enough. It’s as authentic as it gets.
Hot pide bread. A selection of spreads: spicy eggplant, spinach and yogurt, hummus, and fish roe spread.
The newly renovated interior. Fresh salad with lemon.
Chef Hussein Kaya and Rizo Atas with our Branzino and mixed grill platter.
Clockwise from top left: Crispy liver cubes; Grilled Branzino; Our waiter fillets the fish; Crispy squid.
Baklava with pumpkin in the center.
When you are craving fish and chips, the only place to go is A Salt & Battery, located at 112 Greenwich Ave. It’s a genuine chip shop that will deep fry anything under the sun and make you feel oh so British. Cod is normally the fish of choice, however in recent years Cod fish stocks world-wide as well as locally have been over fished. In good conscience, A Salt & Battery made the switch from Cod to Pollock (which is a sustainable locally caught fish). So we should all applaud A Salt & Battery for making this choice. We should also applaud them for their deep fried Mars bar, which takes on a crispy texture on the outside and oozes with warm chocolate from the inside. It’s an ultra-decadent treat that's worth every bite.
A Salt & Battery from the outside in.
Clockwise from top left: Manager Matthew Arnfield; Battered beets; Fish and chips; The perfect bite of fish dipped in tartar sauce.
The menu on one wall, English paraphernalia on another.
The deep fried Mars bar.
Today June 11 is the 100-year anniversary of Barney Greengrass. To mark this milestone, they will be selling all food at their original 1908 prices. Go in today for a sturgeon sandwich which will cost you $1.75 instead of the usual $17.75. [Eater] & [Barney Greengrass on NYSD]

Tomatoes are being pulled from many menus due to a salmonella scare. The exact type of tomato, which contains the salmonella, has not been pin pointed. However people are being advised to avoid raw red and raw plum tomatoes. [FDA]

When the weather gets this hot, I like to cool off with a cup of frozen yogurt. New York is filled with yogurt shops and more and more keep popping up at an astounding rate. The question is: will all of these shops survive after the summer months? [Crain’s]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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