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 .