Akdeniz Turkish Cuisine
I have a special fondness for Turkish food and after craving Turkish food for a few months we made a visit to Akdeniz Turkish Cuisine in midtown Manhattan. We went for the prix-fix menu and my favorite part about restaurants was that as soon as we entered after an exhausting day at work, we were promptly served some hot bread & olive oil. It was comforting to munch on some bread while I made up my mind on what to order.
For appetizers, we went for Lebni and Spinach Tarator both yoghurt based and finger-licking delicious. Lebni is a thick homemade yoghurt with walnut, garlic, dill & mint; while spinach tarator is sautéed spinach mixed with garlic, cream of yoghurt and walnuts. To me the combination of yoghurt and walnut was new and exciting, there’s no Indian dish I can think of which puts the two together. I sure have a tweak in mind for the Indian yoghurt-based dishes.
For mains, we ordered Chicken Shish Kebab and Skewered Ground Chicken. Both dishes were similar with respect to the way they were cooked (char grilled) & the fact that they were both served with rice and vegetables. I personally liked the skewered chicken better as it was better seasoned, there were peppers and the skewers were nice and moist. The kebabs were also cooked well, although they could definitely do with a little more seasoning. The sides I wasn’t sold on, the lettuce seemed far from fresh & the grilled tomato lacking seasoning. The sweet kraut side, I am personally not a fan of, so I don’t think it would be fair for me to say anything about it as I probably wouldn’t even like the best kraut.
For dessert, came a slightly caramelized Turkish Custard. I guess because I was told it would be a custard, I wanted it to be not so firm, the spoon would just not slide through. Added to that I thought it was too sweet for me to deal with. Unfortunately just an average dessert…
The other dessert was something that sounded extremely exciting on the menu but again was a sheer letdown. Kadayif, baked shredded wheat stuffed with walnut’s flavored with honey syrup, garnished with pistachios. I think it was the probably the bitterness from the wheat bran and the nutty flavor of the walnut itself which gave a slightly bitter aftertaste. Even the cloyingly sweet sugar syrup couldn’t mask this. This was the weakest link in the dinner for me.
The dinner started off on a great note with the refreshing starters, decent mains (good owing to the chicken skewers alone) but disastrous desserts. But if a place charges you as much as Akdeniz does, it is a let down the lettuce on your plate looks like it was chopped a couple of days in advance. Despite all these nitpicks, there was nothing more they could do to make the skewered chicken any better… I would still say it is overpriced and you would be able to find a better meal in Manhattan for less.
Most favorite dish: A no-brainer, the ground skewered chicken
Least favorite dish : Kadayif
Overall Verdict : 3/5
Pocket Pinch : $35 per person