Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Taste of Istanbul Right Around the Corner from Bryant Park

For a couple years in a row now, Mmm… Enfes (Turkish for ‘mmm…delicious’) has been introducing Turkish delicacies to the public at The Holiday Shops in Bryant Park. Since January you can enjoy the specialties all year round at 70 West 39th Street, just right around the corner from Bryant Park.

Nurdan, the owner of Mmm…Enfes, just launched herself into a new adventure by opening her own store in Midtown Manhattan. Nurdan does an amazing job sharing her culinary culture with New Yorkers, as well as visitors from around the world; her personality, as well as her cute little takeout are as welcoming as the city of Istanbul itself. The moment you come in, you get attracted by the 3 display cases that expose a variety of smaller and bigger snacks, ready to be discovered by the Midtown foodies.

We went to Mmm…Enfes for lunch and got to try a well-rounded sampling of the menu. Let’s starts with the ‘Gozleme’ and the ‘Gul Borek’. ‘Gozleme’ is a hand-rolled pastry that is filled with minced meat, cheese and/or veggies. We went for the beef variation. The large square pastry first gets pressed in a Panini grill and then topped with some hot sauce. After that, Nurdan rolls it into a handy little pocket that tastes absolutely fantastic.

The ‘Gul Borek’ is a phyllo dough filled pastry that can be eaten hot or cold. We chose the vegetarian option that was filled with squash and green veggies. It could seem a little overwhelming at first but in reality the dumpling-like goodie was very light and not greasy at all.

For sides, we opted for a lentil ball, a dolma as well as the traditional carrot salad. The little coral red lentil ball is made out of ground lentils with scallions and spices. The idea is similar to the falafel, only that the little ball is not fried and lentils replace the chickpeas. It tastes wonderful together with the carrot salad, that comes with a yogurt based dressing. By the way, its smooth acidity goes perfectly well with all the dishes that we tried... The dolma, also a traditional staple of Greek cuisine, is basically a grape leaf (or alternatively a cabbage leave) stuffed with rice and herbs. The ones at Mmm…Enfes are very tasty and if you want a smaller lunch, just combine a couple of them with a lentil soup or a side salad.

At the end of our tasting, Nurdan surprised us with a little composition of different desserts. The traditional baklava is highly recommended for all pistachio and honey fans. Baklavas are like Napoleons layered cakes, most of the time made out of phyllo dough; the difference is that they are bite-sized and that the cream is replaced by a delicious almond or nut paste. For people who prefer something a little less sweet, go with the Turkish cookies, filled with almonds and other nuts. Don’t forget to order a traditional Turkish coffee. I am obsessed with Turkish coffee as I love the thick ground up beans in the bottom of the cup, that add that amazing roasted aroma to the drink…It is the perfect closure to a scrumptious meal.

Mmm…Enfes is full of delicious surprises – so grab your lunch there and come to enjoy it outdoors at Bryant Park!

Mmm... Enfes
70 West 39th Street between 6th Avenue and 5th Avenue

By Isabelle Steichen

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