MondayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
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 it.
We stop into scores of meyhanes, or traditional Turkish tavernas, and eat more yogurt mezes than we care to report, all for the sake of finding that one masterful meze among the goopy masses. Most mezes in Istanbul are fine, but very few can be considered orgasmic.
Çukur Meyhane, a small, slightly shabby, basement meyhane in Beyoğlu’s Galatasaray area, certainly does not look like the kind of place with any shining stars on the menu. On one of our very first visits, the floor seemed to be covered in a mixture of sawdust, table scraps and some cigarette ash. The tiny open kitchen occupies one corner, while the VIP table – where a group of old-timers can be found watching horse races on TV, scratching at racing forms, cursing and cheering – takes up a slightly larger area.
The rest of this previously featured review can be found on CulinaryBackstreets.com, here.
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1 response - Posted 01.14.13
We are unabashedly fanatical in our love of hamsi, or anchovies, a late fall/wintertime specialty whose arrival we eagerly await each year in Istanbul, where the tiny fish are most commonly served pan-fried, grilled or in pilaf. But as any hamsi aficionado knows, for the best anchovy-eating in Turkey one ...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 04.18.12
Turns out New Yorkers are only now discovering what Turks have known for eons: that the humble anchovy is absolutely delicious (particularly when lightly coated in flour or cornmeal and fried). As an article in today's New York Times explains, anchovies -- known as "hamsi" in Turkish -- are being ...continue
4 responses - Posted 10.31.11
The arrival of fall in Istanbul for us usually means just one thing: hamsi season is about to begin. Hamsi, of course, are the minuscule fish (Black Sea anchovies) that Istanbulites are mad for, and the coming of fall and the further cooling of the Black Sea’s waters mark the beginning ...continue
4 responses - Posted 10.04.10
The chill of fall is in the air in Istanbul, which also means that good stuff is happening in the waters near the city. More specifically, it means that hamsi season is about to kick off in the chilly Black Sea. Hamsi, of course, are the minuscule fish (Black Sea ...continue
no responses - Posted 10.27.09
Istanbul Eats' Yigal Schleifer has a post on the New York Times' Globespotters blog about the start of hamsi season in Istanbul. Hamsi is the Turkish name for the finger-sized anchovy caught in the waters of the Black Sea. Though small and inexpensive, hamsi holds a sacred place in the ...continue