As my husband and I were walking towards Butter Lane Cupcakes in the East Village, we passed by an adorable Turkish restaurant – Mediterranean Grill and Tapas.
We noticed a couple sharing a hookah, and since we were both famished, and in the mood for some hookah, the choice to dine at this cute little restaurant was obvious.
First impressions… I loved the atmosphere at this tapas restaurant – it was romantic, intimate, laid back, with great Turkish music. Sometimes the best dinners are unplanned.
128 1st Ave
Manhattan, NY 10009
MENU: Mediterranean Grill and Tapas Menu (selective dine in menu, takeout next door)
CUISINE: Turkish, Mediterranean, Tapas/Small Plates.
RECOMMENDED TO: Casual Dining, Couples, Groups, Romantic Dining.
Since my husband and I both love hookah, we decided on the Fresh Apple Hookah, it was tasty and hit the spot. We were also given 1 free refill.
We each started with a glass of Sangria. Not only did the sangria taste fruity and delicious, the glasses were pretty huge too. Wine and fruits, how bad can they be?
Fried Calamari… even though we were at a Turkish restaurant, my husband had to order fried calamari – it’s one of his favorite starters. He will never admit it, but he LOVES fried food. Both the calamari and cocktail sauce were delicious.
Babaganoush… smoked eggplant puree seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. The babaganoush was good, but nothing out of the ordinary at a Middle Eastern restaurant. We both enjoyed it, but I’ve tasted better.
Chicken Kabab… tender chunks of grilled chicken marinated with yogurt and spices. Personally, I prefer more chargrilled kababs with the “blackened” effect, and although the chicken tasted good, I thought it could have used more flavor, perhaps a little lemon and garlic.
Pintox de Camarones Grilled Shrimp skewers with Salsa Romesco… the shrimp was perfectly grilled to perfection and spicy – I loved this dish. The salsa and yogurt sauces perfectly balanced out the flavors of the shrimp.
VERDICT: 4 / 5
Sometimes it’s nice to dine out without planning for it. It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed Turkish food with hookah and drinks, let me just tell you, it’s so FUN! The food here is a blend between Turkish and Spanish cuisines which was great. I look forward to scoping out more Middle Eastern establishments in New York City that serve hookah, and I definitely look forward to returning to this lovely Turkish gem for their amazing sangria and wonderful tapas.
Just fyi… there is a Belly Dancer on Fridays at 10:30 PM.
Decor: Good (warm & cozy)
Service: Excellent (very friendly)
TELL ME: Do you enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine? What’s your favorite item to order?