Sofra

I’ve been a bit reluctant to visit the new Turkish restaurant Sofra (corner of 43rd street and 43rd avenue) given the relatively poor quality of its predecessors (Habibi and Grill 43). As we discovered last night though, my misgivings were completely unwarranted, as Sofra is an excellent venue.

Billing itself as serving Mediterranean cuisine, it is in fact mostly Turkish food. Although there are some pasta dished on the menu. The quality and quantity of the offerings matches the Turkish Grill on Queens Blvd, but at a lower prices! The decor is comparatively worse though – particularly the lighting; the lights are dimmed and give off a yellowish hue, which is unpleasantly amplified by the yellow walls. The tables and seats are nice though.

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Two appetizers – baba ganoush and cacik (a type of yogurt), are complimentary and served with bread. The portions are surprisingly large, and these appatizers would be sufficient even for 4 people.

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We ordered the “mixed appetizers,” and were shocked at the large number of plates that were brought to our table. Almost everything from the cold appetizer menu was included for the $13 price: another cacik, a spicy salad, eggplant, ezme, and spinach tartare. Each was delicious, although I think the cacik and the spicy salad were my favorites. The baba ganoush tasted a bit off, but was good with bread. I was impressed with the eggplant appetizer – it was well prepared and the eggplant did not overwhelm the taste of the whole.

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One section of the menu is dedicated to vegetarian main dishes, although there are only 3 (most of the appetizers, however, are vegetarian). We tried the Turkish Okra ($12), which comes in soup form, with a platter of rice on side. As with everything else, the portion is very generous. The dish tastes a bit like tomato soup (and there are in fact many tomatoes in the broth), with the okra on top. Even the rice is good, as it’s seasoned well.

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Here is the chicken adana entree (again $12). Again, a huge portion, with two big chunks of the skewered chicken. A small salad and rice complemented it well. I was a bit disappointed with the spicy green pepper (which is standard with this dish), which was somehow not spicy at all. Turkish Grill does this dish better, but it’s nevertheless good and cheaper at Sofra. Ultimately we were stuffed, and our doggie bag contained 4 separate boxes of food, plenty for a full dinner the following day. Next time we will have to try one of the many seafood dishes available (although they are more expensive than the others).

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