Tonight we ventured to Sunnyside’s more upscale Turkish restaurant, where I haven’t been to in about a year: the Turkish Grill. In the past I’ve always enjoyed the food and atmosphere there, but this time our visit wasn’t quite as pleasant, which I will soon get to. Let me preface everything by noting that the food itself IS quite good there, so if you want the best Turkish food in the area, this is the place to go to.
I’ve neglected to take a picture of the restaurant’s storefront, but I will make sure to add one later. They are located between 42nd and 43rd streets on the north side of Queens Blvd. There are essentially two dining rooms, but they try to cram everyone into one, which doesn’t really make for a pleasant nor intimate dining experience, when you’re sitting within one foot of strangers. This fact was the first reason that made this visit less than stellar.
For a complementary appetizer, they bring out (warm!) soft bread, with a nice plate of olive oil. The olives themselves were actually quite good as well (and I am not a big fan of olives in general).
The entree generally fall into only a few categories: adanas/kebabs (with lamb or chicken), a few seafood dishes, and pides (dough-based dishes, kind of like pizza). The main dishes either come “dry” with rice/peppers or “wet”, on top of a yogurt-like substance, appropriately named yougurtlu. The above is one such example (yogurtlu chicken adana, $16). It’s really good, but one thing I want to point out is that I swear that when I came here a year and a half ago, the portions were much bigger (for the same price).
This dish is what made this trip to Turkish Grill turn sour – by being a rip-off. On the menu, they list “Chicken kebab” as costing $12.95 and coming with rice, peppers, spices, seasoning etc. Right below it, there is an entry that simply says “Chicken kebab with shepherd salad,” for $18.95. A quick check of the appetizer section reveals that the salad by itself costs $6.75, so this all makes sense (you save 75 cents by getting the salad with the entree). However, as you can see in this picture, the dish is actually just the “chicken” part, on top of a bowl of salad. The peppers, rice, and so on, are nowhere to be seen. At first I thought that maybe they would be brought on a side dish, but that was not to be. When I saw on the check that they charged me $18.95, I pointed out this apparent discrepancy to the waiter, who was unphased and calmly explained that the size of the salad in this dish was actually “large” (I can’t image how small a small one must be in that case), which costs $10.75 (!), so that technically I was “saving $3” by ordering this combo. Ha. Even if that actually made sense, I can’t see how they can charge over $10 for the most basic of Turkish salads (it’s just tomatoes, cucumber, onions, and green peppers). You can get it for cheaper (and probably larger) at Mangal Kebab down the road. And as for the waiter’s response, compare this to my experience at Saffron Garden where the staff and manager really went out of their way to make everything right, even without me bringing anything up.
So overall I still say this is a good place – because of the quality of the food – but I was disappointed with the prices, and in particular this misleading “deal”.