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It's tough stuff picking a dinner spot in the Hamptons when there are so many fabulous options. But if you're a fan of trying something new, relishing savory food, enjoying electric cocktails, and taking in gorgeous décor in a relaxed environment, I have a suggestion: El Turco, a new Turkish restaurant in East Hampton. Known for its Miami location, El Turco is Michelin and Quail Bell approved!
My date and I immediately appreciated El Turco's elegant, modern design with Turkish touches. That deep blue Evil Eye follows you everywhere! We were eager to sit down and see what culinary gems awaited us.
Well, you can't have Turkish food without mezes! These small plates are akin to tapas, allowing you to sample morsels of this and that to your heart's content. I leapt for the kopoglu, a fried eggplant dish topped with a rich garlic yogurt sauce. We also ordered the Circassian chicken salad, made up of shredded organic chicken with walnuts for a nice textural contrast. It, too, boasted a garlicy panache.
After the mezes came the warm starters. The shrimp casserole was a top-notch pick, scoring high in both seasoning and heartiness. Seafood fans will delight in the baked shrimp swimming in herbs, butter, and garlic. The more surprising warm starter was the pastrami humus, which was good and greasy, though not as flavorful as we might've predicted.
This bounty alone could've satiated us, but our meal would not have been complete without the main courses. I chose the lamp chops, cooked medium-rare, and that was absolutely an A+ life choice. The chops were grilled to perfection with tomato and pepper and served with perfectly cupped white rice, though I also asked for a side of bulgar rice. If it's possible for rice to be beautiful, then the rice at El Turco is indeed beautiful. My date opted for the Vali Kebab, a traditional Turkish mixed kabab that came with rice and grilled tomato and peppers, as well. Since I couldn't resist a taste, I gotta say that the chicken was particularly succulent.
Truthfully, it was tough selecting a dessert, with three equally appealing options. We settled on the baklava because, well, baklava and the semolina halvah, garnished with pistachios and pine nuts and stuffed with ice cream. The baklava was perfectly sweet, moist, and satisfying and both of our preferred dessert of the tasty two.
Last but not least, it's worth mentioning the superior service. Our server Maria was friendly and informed and extremely accommodating, much like the bartender Richard, who was a true mixologist. The owner Cagri Kanver made the rounds and was kind enough to inquire about our experience. We had to fess up and tell him how great everything was!
With both indoor and outdoor seating, El Turco seats a total of 140. Coming from New York City, we lunged for the fresh air, but inside seemed equally inviting. Whether you hit up the Hamptons for Labor Day weekend or an autumn excursion, consider adding El Turco to your itinerary of fun and flair.
#turkishfood #hamptons #labordayweekend #summer #thingstodo #travel #food #culture
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