From kebabs to köfte to kibbeh, NYC food lovers have plenty of spots around town to feast on the flavors of the Turkish diaspora, and New York is getting a much-welcome entrant as Nar opens on Tuesday, August 15, in the Flatiron District.
From owners Andy E. Arkun, Erhan Bahceci and Zeynep Tansug, the restaurant at 34 East 20th Street will serve up reimaginings of regional Turkish plates. Think appetizers like deconstructed beef-and-bulger kibbeh stuffed in a semolina shell and served over garlic yogurt, or a "reconstructed" shakshuka made in a ring mold with diced potatoes and zucchini and topped with a quenelle of tomato sauce. Main courses include a skewered quail wrapped in wine leaves and plated over a cinnamon-currant pilaf, and "Sultan's Bliss" a seared then slow-cooked lamb shank with eggplant caviar and a white bean purée.
And, of course, you can't have a Turkish restaurant without something sweet: desserts will also showcase Ottoman Empire specialties like kazandibi, a traditional caramelized milk pudding made with milk-soaked chicken breast that’s shredded and mixed with rice flour, sugar and milk, and cooked until the bottom is like burnt caramel, and cennet çamuru, a.k.a. “heaven’s mud,” a house-made vanilla ice cream served over shredded kataifi pastry and pistachio.
Wash it all down with cocktails like the “Raki Mule,” which freshens up the national drink of Turkey with ginger beer and lime juice, and “The Orient Express,” a gin-based sipper made with brewed Turkish tea, fresh raspberries, tonic and simple syrup. A selection of craft beers on tap and by the bottle is also available, as well as a 100-plus-bottle wine program highlighting Turkish and Mediterranean producers.
Check out the space, which is decorated with the Turkish coast in mind (the 50-seat dining room is dressed with turquoise-blue banquets, white-washed reclaimed wood and paintings of famed Persian poet-scholar Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi), as well as some of the menu items on offer below: