ThursdayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
The departure of Aret, our favorite garson in the city, had us reconsidering our love of this little cubbyhole meyhane where we’ve spent so many nights over the years.
With our loyalty to Aret and his to us, would it not be cheating to return to Çukur when Aret now runs his own place just a few blocks away? More importantly, could we expect the same standards from Çukur without Aret around? In the meyhane world, waiters, like janissaries, wield unusual power over the operation and their departure can signal bad times ahead.
After much deliberation we recently descended into the subterranean world of Çukur Meyhane and found it as good as ever. We’ll pass on the hamsi until they are back in season, but the balık kokoreç and puffy fried nuggets of whitefish were good enough to convince us that there’s room enough for Çukur and Aret’s new place in our dining life.
Read the rest of this previously featured review at Culinary Backstreets.
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2 responses - Posted 07.15.13
One of the great joys of spring and summertime in Istanbul is the chance to get away for a day to one of the Princes’ Islands, the car-free and forested archipelago that is a short ferry ride away from the city. The only downside to an island hop is actually ...continue
1 response - Posted 04.15.13
In an opinion piece published recently in the Latitude blog of The New York Times, veteran Turkey correspondent Andrew Finkel’s brutally honest appraisal of the state of “New Turkish Cuisine” called much of Istanbul’s restaurant establishment – down to the customers – into question. We’ve had similar misgivings after meals ...continue
no responses - Posted 04.09.13
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no responses - Posted 03.18.13
It wasn’t quite as dramatic as Meg Ryan’s big moment at Katz’s Deli in When Harry Met Sally, but a low-register, guttural moan of pleasure was detected from our table when we tasted the shredded celery root in yogurt, a house specialty meze at Çukur Meyhane. And we weren’t faking ...continue
4 responses - Posted 01.29.13
In the great multicultural Anatolian kitchen, questions about the ethnic or national origins of foods are often cause for forks and knives to fly. A porridge called keşkek is a hot-button diplomatic issue between Turkey and Armenia, and we won’t even get started on the ongoing baklava debate. So what ...continue
no responses - Posted 12.28.12
After four years of publishing weekly dispatches from Istanbul’s culinary backstreets, we are still regularly surprised by new discoveries, impressed by the staying power of old standards and shocked by how quickly so much can change. For better or for worse, it is that dynamism that Istanbulites line up for, ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.26.12
We can’t prove it, but we suspect a network of tunnels lies underground in Beyoğlu that connects most of the meyhanes of Asmalımescit and Nevizade Sokak to the same mediocre kitchen, resulting in unexceptional mezes at scores of venues in this dining district. Following a number of tips, our search ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.12.12
The arrival of fall in Istanbul usually means one thing for us: hamsi season is about to begin. Hamsi, of course, are the minuscule fish (Black Sea anchovies) that Istanbulites are mad about, and the coming of fall and the cooling of the waters of the Black Sea mark the beginning ...continue
1 response - Posted 10.22.12
Like Clark Kent hiding his Superman tights beneath a brown suit and glasses, Klemuri maintains the appearance of a predictable Beyoğlu café – wooden tables, shelves loaded with knickknacks, Buena Vista Social Club on the stereo, spinach crepes and a crispy chicken salad on the menu. But down in the ...continue
no responses - Posted 10.15.12
Diners in Istanbul are spoiled with options for fresh seafood. But most venues are mere caricatures of places like İsmet Baba, where traditions have been kept sacred for more than 50 years. While many other such restaurants are kitschy, İsmet is gritty and authentic. Located in Kuzguncuk, a charming neighborhood ...continue