Akdeniz Mediterranean Cuisine
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Haggard, hungry visitors tired of being jostled in Times Square will welcome a quiet reprieve at Akdeniz, a cozy spot a few blocks north of the hustle and bustle.
This second location of the 15-year-old original, which sits a few avenues away on 46th Street, offers the same menu, but with noticeable facelifts in decor and a cozier atmosphere. One long brick wall gives the narrow space warmth, and wine bottles originating from Austria to South Africa to New York State (very affordable with a majority marked at less than $40) are displayed on dark shelves. The real clincher for the space is the back patio, a small outdoor escape with round mosaic-tiled tables and greenery.
The menu features a simple, modest take on traditional Mediterranean dishes. A diverse array of appetizers are so reasonably priced, you might fancy making a meal of them. Skip the flavorless, gray-green baba ghanoush ($6.95) and instead order the cheese pastries ($7.50), cigar-shaped phyllo dough stuffed with piping hot feta and dill, begging the comparison to Mediterranean mozzarella sticks.
While the vegetarian baby okra ($14.50) renders too singular and largely underwhelming, the nearly footlong whole Mediterranean sea bass ($24, also available deboned and descaled) is sure to delight: Even an amateur will find it easy to dismantle before forking up mouthfuls of the soft and naturally buttery white fish. A very generous helping of perfectly pink lamb chops ($27.95) makes one of the menu’s most expensive dishes well worth the cost, although the sides are a bit confusing and seemingly extraneous: a roasted jalapeno and a tomato, shredded red cabbage, shredded lettuce and rice.
The food is plentiful, the wine list approachable and the space peaceful. Akdeniz offers a respite you didn’t know you could have so close to Times Square.
310 W 53rd St between 8th & 9th
|Cross street:||between Eighth and Ninth Aves|
|Transport:||Subway: C, E to 50th St|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu, Sun 4-10pm; Fri, Sat 4-11pm|
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