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Posts Tagged ‘ köfte ’

Jun 10
Friday

Meşhur Köfteci Recep Usta: In a Category All its Own

Filed under Reviews (Eats)


From a seat on the deck of a Bosphorus ferry, the little neighborhoods of the Asian side seem to have the same idyllic layout: a platoon of fisherman with long casting rods on either side of a small white boat dock in the foreground; a minaret poking through the foliage of a giant sycamore growing behind it and which shares a square with the outdoor seating of the neighborhood fish restaurant.

In this picture, anything but fresh grilled fish would seem incongruous. But hop off the boat in Çengelköy, for example, and you’ll find a very different culinary world in the backstreets beyond the dock. Among other things, you’ll find köfte. In fact, people in Çengelköy seem to have been eating köfte, quite happily, at Recep Usta Köfteci since the 1970s.

Köfte comes in many forms, each with its own title: lastik köfte, İnegöl köfte, ev köfte and, like the ones at Recep Usta, tükrük köfte. The term tükrük, meaning saliva, comes from a slightly stomach-churning popular urban legend that the street cart köfte vendors outside of Beşiktaş Stadium spit on their hands before shaping their meatballs. All the same, köfte that resembles those street meatballs in size and shape – spit or no spit – is categorized as tükrük köfte, as is the fantastic köfte at Recep Usta.

We happen to love eating tükrük köfte sandwiches outside of the stadium. (Indeed, it’s about the only part of a Beşiktaş soccer match that we do enjoy.) So it was pleasantly surprising to see our old game day meal on a plate alongside a pile of onions and a dollop of red pepper sauce. But the resemblance stopped there. If Beşiktaş Stadium köfte is the canned tuna fish of meatballs, then Recep Usta is serving sushi-grade.

On the way out, we asked Yavuz Bey, son of founder Recep Usta, how he’d categorize his excellent meatballs. “Recep Usta köftesi,” he said, then and there, creating a new category of meatball (and cleverly avoiding any reference to bodily fluids). Smart move.

Address: Çakalı Sokak 4, Çengelköy
Telephone: 216-321-4977

(photo by Ansel Mullins)

 

 

 


All entries filed under this archive


Istanbul Köfte Week: #2 – AKO Adapazarı Islama Köfte
no responses - Posted 06.09.11
(Editor’s note: Over here at Istanbul Eats, we like to think of ourselves as köfte savants. While to the untrained eye köfte may look like nothing more than a grilled meatball, we like to discern differences in taste, texture and consistency in the different styles of this ubiquitous Turkish dish. ...continue
AKO Adapazarı Islama Köfte: Fellowship of the Drench
1 response - Posted 06.09.11
Students of Istanbul street food will recognize the ıslama modifier on this köfte and understand its relation with the oh-so-edible “ıslak” hamburger in Taksim Square. It is a fellowship of drenched bread. But while the wet burger is drenched in secret sauce and sent to steam in the burger hammam, ...continue
Istanbul Köfte Week: #3 – Köfteci Hüseyin
no responses - Posted 06.08.11
(Editor’s note: Over here at Istanbul Eats, we like to think of ourselves as köfte savants. While to the untrained eye köfte may look like nothing more than a grilled meatball, we like to discern differences in taste, texture and consistency in the different styles of this ubiquitous Turkish dish. ...continue
Istanbul Köfte Week: #4 – Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi
1 response - Posted 06.07.11
(Editor’s note: Over here at Istanbul Eats, we like to think of ourselves as köfte savants. While to the untrained eye köfte may look like nothing more than a grilled meatball, we like to discern differences in taste, texture and consistency in the different styles of this ubiquitous Turkish dish. ...continue
Istanbul Köfte Week: #5 – Köfteci Arnavut
5 responses - Posted 06.06.11
(Editor’s note: Over here at Istanbul Eats, we like to think of ourselves as köfte savants. While to the untrained eye köfte may look like nothing more than a grilled meatball, we like to discern differences in taste, texture and consistency in the different styles of this ubiquitous Turkish dish. ...continue
Lost in Thrace: Following the Tekirdağ Köftesi Trail
3 responses - Posted 01.17.11
Editor’s note: This week, Istanbul Eats hops on the bus and heads west to sample the Thrace region’s most famous köfte in its native environment. Guest writers Sherri Cohen and Alex Hallowell, Fulbright English Teaching Assistants at Namık Kemal University in Tekirdağ, have run the gut-busting gauntlet to bring you ...continue
Köfteci Arnavut: On the Good Ship Meatball Shop
4 responses - Posted 01.14.11
Perhaps it’s the proximity of the waters of the Golden Horn or the weathered wood interior, but we get a distinctly maritime feeling at Köfteci Arnavut, a tiny köfte joint in the historic Balat neighborhood. The members of the Iştay family, who opened the place in 1947, seem to think the ...continue
Meşhur Filibe Köftecisi: Keeping Their Eye on the Meatball
2 responses - Posted 11.26.10
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Büyükada Hi-Lo
11 responses - Posted 07.19.10
If it’s because of showing visitors around or simply a desire to get away from the city for the day, we can usually count on at least one visit a summer to Büyükada, the largest of the Princes’ Islands. But as much as we like looking at the car-free island’s Victorian ...continue
Istanbul Eats on the Road: In the Republic of Köfte
1 response - Posted 06.18.10
(Editor’s Note: This guest post – from the far reaches of the former Ottoman Empire – came to us courtesy of Sevin Turan, an Istanbul-based journalist and translator and a member of the Istanbul Eats team.) “Welcome the youngest republic of the world!” This is how we were greeted when our ...continue

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