August 14, 2011


Beyoglu is awesome, except for that time there was a roach on the table by the bread plate. Luckily, I didn't see it. My roommate at the time spotted it, and our waiter flicked it off the table and stepped on it. But ignorance is bliss/you've got to see it to believe it, and though those don't really apply that well here, I still go back all the time because the food is too good not to. The octopus marinated in olive oil, lemon, and vinegar with red onions and tomatoes... before trying it for the first time I would've thought that I would not be willing to try octopus. (Well, I would've thought that had I not been under the mistaken impression that calamari is octopus, which I've been eating for years. I thought I was taking a big step by trying it non-fried. But turns out -- who would've guessed -- it's an entirely different sea creature. And a mighty delicious one.) If you go to Beyoglu, get the octopus (ahtapot salatasi). It's incredible. I've sought it out at other local Turkish places that will deliver (Beyoglu won't), and nothing has come remotely close.

The hummus is possibly the best hummus I've ever had, even if eaten with delicious, fresh-baked bread that a roach may or may not have crawled all over. There must be some secret ingredient they use, like cream or smoked Gouda or Cheetos to make it so good. It's so creamy and rich, like it has dairy, though I've never come across a hummus recipe that calls for dairy, so I don't ask, I just enjoy it.

The barbunya pilaki (red kidney beans, potatoes, and carrots with lemon and lemon olive oil, and possibly some sort of tomato sauce) is also a must-try. You don't even have to particularly like beans to like this dish. It's so simple, it's surprising how tasty it is.

That is enough food for two people. It doesn't seem like much, but the hummus and beans are really filling, and the bread is free and delicious and hot out of the oven, and they'll bring you as much as you can eat (and you can eat a lot, as it's not only good with the hummus, but also with the leftover juice from the octopus dish and the sauce from the beans). 

If you want to feel good about yourself by eating greens, the zeytinyagli ispanak, which is sauteed spinach with shallots and dill is great. It comes with yogurt, but we ask for it without it. It is delicious, and I can't imagine it being made better by yogurt.

The rest of the food is hit or miss. Some dishes are on the bland side, while others rival the octopus. It's definitely a place to check out, but if you go, make reservations or be prepared to wait. For an affordable little place on the Upper East Side, it gets packed, even early in the week.

I'd give this place five stars, except for that pesky cockroach. I choose to believe that a diner (not us! How dare you!) unwittingly brought it in with him (perhaps as a pet; more likely as a stowaway). Our waiter was very embarrassed and apologetic, and our dinner was free that night. I have been back many times since, and have never again see such a creature. 

1 comment:

  1. You lost me at roach on the table.