We’ve long been big fans of Canım Ciğerim , a wonderful kebab joint in Beyoğlu’s Asmalımescit area that serves up thin, long skewers studded with tiny and very tender morsels of either beef or liver.
Recently we noticed the arrival of Ciğerimin Köşesi (“My Liver’s Corner,” roughly translated), a gleaming, new kebab spot in the Galatasaray area that had a somewhat similar-sounding name and even had some of Canım Ciğerim’s waitstaff working there. Loyal fans of the original, we initially ignored what we believed to be an upstart copycat. Located down a dim alley off the pedestrian-only İstiklal Caddesi, the restaurant’s bland modern look – more hair salon than kebab house – also didn’t appeal.
It didn’t take very long for us, though, to break down and go and give Ciğerimin Köşesi a try – and we’re glad we did. Turns out the upstart just might give the original a run for its money.
As at Canım Ciğerim, the real fun here is in what comes along with your kebabs. Before the skewers even arrive, your low table is piled high with plates of radish, parsley, mint, arugula and slightly charred grilled onions and peppers dusted with red pepper. Along with those comes a serving of the restaurant’s superb ezme salad – a mix of extremely finely diced tomatoes, onion and parsley flavored with tart pomegranate molasses – which is made by a knife-wielding usta, or master, who lords over a well-worn cutting board near the grill.
The skewers arrive along with a pile of very thin flatbreads that look a lot like the wraps that are served with moo shu dishes in Chinese restaurants. The wraps are used to grab the meat off the hot skewers and are than filled with a bit of everything that’s on the table and rolled up, eaten in two or three flavor-filled bites. If you want, order a dürüm – a Turkish-style burrito – and the chef will do all the work and make a giant wrap for you stuffed with grilled meat, fresh herbs and onions.
Ciğerimin Köşesi offers the usual choice of liver or beef kebabs – both very tasty – but, unlike its Asmalımescit rival, also serves up superb chicken kebabs, the skewers threaded with very moist chunks of white meat that have been marinated in a red pepper sauce. Although we tend to order the beef kebabs at Canım Ciğerim, Ciğerimin Köşesi’s chicken kebabs have us reconsidering our preferences.
So, will we now have to choose between our original favorite and the new kebab kid on the block? Fortunately, this town – and our appetite – is big enough for the two of them.
Address: Tütüncü Çıkmazı 3/A, Beyoğlu
(photo by Yigal Schleifer)