Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bosphorous

Good morning friends! Has it been awhile since I've posted a restaurant review?! I recall the last time I went out to dinner was over a week ago and my wallet thanks me for that! Excitedly, I didn't have to reach too deep into my pockets this evening as the menu sampling at Bosphorus was compliments of the house. I think you know me well enough to know by now I'm honest when it comes to my feelings about the food and experience, whether it be comped or I whether I paid top dollar. So with that little disclaimer, lets get this Turkish feast underway.Opened this past January in Inman Square, Bosphorus serves authentic Turkish Cuisine in a setting defined by warm rust colored walls, dim lighting and striking cloth canopies. Rows of dark wooden booths with backs cushioned by red, beige and brown fabric appear uniform and cozy on one side and a long polished bar boasting illuminated arches fills the length of the space on the opposite. The stunning interior leaves a lasting first impression and the service and cuisine follow up in similar form. The hospitable General Manager named Hakan was on hand to explain the dishes served and to answer the questions of our inquiring party which included Elizabeth, Meghan, Michelle, Emily, Megan and myself. While I know very little about Turkish food, I was eager to learn by tasting. Heads up: lots of eggplant offerings, lamb dishes, grape leaves, kebobs, tangy yogurt sauces and whipped humus spreads jump out from the pages of the rather heavy and elegant looking menus.
What else jumped out on the menu was a decent selection of Turkish Wines. Our waitress was knowledgeable and helpful to recommend both reds and whites to satisfy our cravings. She described your standard Turkish red wine as dry and recommended the Yakut ($8 glass/$32 bottle) siting its similarities to a Rioja. I drank two glasses and felt this was a balanced red (indeed dry) that paired well with the bold flavors of the food.First, we were served a basket of soft chewy pita bread alongside a fresh tomato and red pepper based dip with a kick.It's the Turkish version of chips and salsa! I learned the brightly colored paste is called Ezme and in addition to a base of spicy tomato and red pepper it is made with onions, green peppers, walnuts, parsley, olive oil and spices.
There was a generous amount of pita in that basket and we continued to enjoy slices alongside dueling vegetarian platters prepared with the chefs selection of mezes and appetizers. Mezes included a thick yogurt dip made with strained yogurt, walnuts, garlic, olive oil and mint called Haydari and a classic Humus made with mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Front and center is a meze bowl of Kisir which is fine ground bulgur (cracked wheat) mixed with parlsey, scallions and tomato paste. Missing in action (far right corner of the large photo) is an Artichoke Salad combining artichoke hearts and fresh vegetables tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.To the left we have Mercimek Kofte which is a thick paste of red lentils made with cracked wheat, green onion and parsley, wrapped in crisp lettuce. To the right is Patlican Ciftlick a whipped eggplant puree containing red and yellow peppers and lemon juice stuffed in a tomato. My favorite of the many offerings were the Zeytinyagla Sarma which are grape leaves stuffed with rice, bulgur, pine nuts, black currants, onions and herbs. I loved the way the savory rice meshed with the sweet bite of currants.
From Imam Bayildi which are baby eggplants stuffed with tomatoes to Zeytinyagla Dolma which are grilled green peppers stuffed with rice, pine nuts, currant, onions and herbs, I'm definitely getting a feel for the common ingredients of Turkish food; some of it more familiar than others. I like what I'm discovering.There is more good food where that platter came from. We shared three generously portioned entrees beginning with the Bosphorus Kebab ($23) a braised lamb shank wrapped in eggplant served with herbed vegetables in a flavorful tomato based sauce. The dark lamb meat was incredibly tender, falling off the bone into a cradle of soft eggplant. We've had a lot of eggplant at this point!The Sebzeli Guvec ($18) proves a comforting casserole of mixed vegetables featuring potatoes, eggplants, mushrooms, carrots, celery and peppers. Bulger Pilaf and a tangy yogurt sauce accompanied.And finally, an incredibly satisfying plate of pan seared chicken breast stuffed with spinach and mushroom called Sultan's Chicken ($20). Almond slivers and dried apricots added welcome bites of texture and contrast to the juicy chicken and creamy potato puree.
After all that, we were treated to desserts! I was enamored with the offerings, especially this bowl of Asure a.k.a. Noah's Dessert ($8) a festive pudding of cereal grains, chickpeas, beans, dry fruits and nuts. Chickpeas in dessert? I know it sounds odd, but those little chickpeas tasted like they were made for this this dish. Next to this bowl of biblical legend sat Kunefe ($9) which is another strange on print but memorable on the palate combination of shredded phyllo dough filled with fresh mozzarella cheese, baked and topped with syrup and shredded coconut.Lending a delightfully soft and crumbly texture, Sekerpare ($7) is baked semolina and almond pastry soaked in sweet lemony syrup. A more widely known dessert of the region - Baklava ($7) layers finely ground pistachio within syrupy phyllo dough for a sticky sweet finale.

I adored both these traditional confections. You'll definitely want to save some room for dessert here! I'm warning you in advance because if you couldn't tell from the photographs, those entrées are plentiful.
Dinner at Bosphorus was serene and calming, which I can attribute to the zen like glow of the polished atmosphere and the hospitable staff. The dishes served showcased exciting preparations with flavorful ingredients and proved this seemingly lesser known cuisine is not limited to only the adventurous eater, but to anyone who can appreciate traditional flavors of the Mediterranean. The menu has enough variety where you can play it safe with a good old Shish Kebab and some Baklava or hopefully be enticed by something new and unfamiliar.
Bosphorus on Urbanspoon

17 comments:

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Such a great dinner - and review! I seriously think I'll be back this weekend.

Jen said...

You should really work for Boston Tourism Development because all of your posts make me want to visit.

The bar is so long and pretty and I'm certain I could make a meal out of the pita and dip. Yum.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

Our dinner at Bosphorus was so memorable! I was just happy to see you and catch up! I'm a little behind in blog posts but my review will be up soon!

Melissa said...

I love their decor! The menu seems to have a lot of options. I wouldn't know where to start.

Christina said...

ahh i love all this! i had kofte for the first time when i was in nyc and loved it! i made it at home too!

Boston Food Diary said...

Wow- I am so impressed by the sheer variety of their menu! This sounds fantastic- definitely adding it to my list!

Elizabeth said...

I am loving reliving this meal. Everything was so good!

Hotpockets! said...

OMG I CAN EAT ALMOST EVERYTHING HERE! WHEN ARE WE GOING?!

Michelle Collins said...

I really can't wait to try out this place - great review!

Megan said...

Dinner was so much fun! I love your review, and I'm so happy we all got to catch up and learn a little about Turkish food.

Di said...

It looks like such a nice place! Great review! And the food...the food looks fantastic. I want a giant plate of hummus now!

Amber Blue Bird said...

not sure how I feel about the desserts but the food looks really good

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

this food looks really good! if my friends were more adventurous eaters, i'd try to get them to go! lol

Simply Life said...

what a fun meal! I love turkish food!

Jammer said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm I sure hope that glass of wine is as big as it looks!!

Ameena said...

I suddenly want to try Turkish food! I have never had it but it looks a lot like Lebanese...Ezme sounds amazing!

Alicia said...

Great photos Daisy! this place looks so good! I love mediterranean cuisine!