Saturday, December 15, 2018

Ottoman Taverna

Ottoman Taverna offers cuisine inspired by the techniques and ingredients from the Ottoman region. The interior of the 160-seat restaurant pays homage to the turn-of-the-century casual restaurants found throughout Istanbul. Turkish-born owner Hakan Ilhan also owns Alba Osteria next door in the same building as well as L’Hommage Bistro Francais just a few blocks away. Closest Metro is Gallery Place.

We arrived about 30 minutes before our reservation, as it was pouring rain outside, but were welcomed and seated with no hesitation.  First, I perused the wine menu and chose a bottle of 2013 Majestic, Syrah/KaIecik Karaşi from Denizli, Turkey.  This medium bodied wine was very berry forward, but quite drinkable and paired lovingly with our meal.

We decided to indulge in the Instanbul Sefasi - a four course pre-fix menu for $34.95 a person. For the first course, we each chose a cold mezze.  The Muhammara was a chunky red pepper spread with walnuts, feta cheese and olive oil.  It came with fresh bread.  The Stuffed Grape Leaves were sweet and full of rice, pine nuts, and raisins.   We were also given a vegetarian kofta that was spicy and served in a little lettuce wrap.  All of these were delicious, and I could easily fill up on mezze alone.

For the second course, we chose a few more hot mezze.  The Sigara Boregi were homemade dough wrapped with Feta cheese, onions and parsley.  They looked like little cigars, hence the name.  The Zucchini-Carrot Cakes were pan-seared with onions and dill.  They were overly salty for my taste, but matched with the cheese in the other dish.   Keith opted to order an additional hot mezze (instead of a dessert course) with the Beef and Lamb Kibbeh - little balls crusted with Bulgur and stuffed with tomatoes and walnuts.

For the main course, I chose the Chicken Cubes Over Eggplant Puree.  The char-grilled chicken was seasoned with herbs and was very tender with great flavor.  The eggplant puree was light and had a slight tang from the addition of yogurt.

Keith enjoyed a traditional casserole called Moussaka with eggplant, potato, ground beef and bechamel sauce.  It was hearty and warming.

Lastly, for dessert we shared the Baklava.  The thinly layered pastry is filled with nuts and steeped in syrup.  It was served with a small scoop of vanilla sorbet and extra pistachios.  I only wish there was more honey drizzle, too.

Overall, we had a great filling meal and Ottoman Taverna.  Service was warm and inviting, and we did not feel rushed at all.  I enjoyed all the mezze, and there were many other items on the menu that I want to try.  The space was large enough to host larger parties, too.

Total Rating: 4
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5

Ottoman Taverna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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