I got off of the 7 train at 40th Street this afternoon. 3 pm. Not lunch, not dinner, somewhere in between. I wasn't even that hungry, but a quest is a quest and it has to start somewhere, doesn't it? I was alone, it was cold, but not that cold, and unsure of where to go. So I started to walk, taking in the area. Tangra Asian Fusion. A definite yes but not at 3 pm on a Tuesday afternoon, and not alone. I knew the moment I saw a fully-dressed statue peeking through the front window that I would be back.
So I walked more, block after block. Turkish Grill. Yes! But again, it looked better for dinner. I had read somewhere that they have a delicious bread basket at dinnertime. But there, on the other side of the boulevard, there it was: Mangal. With people inside! And brightly colored pictures for every option! I decided on the hors d'oeuvres platter, "a delightful combination of the best cold appetizers". The man behind the counter was delightful as well as he spooned a bit out of each of the 6 salads behind the glass case: hummus, baba ganoush, tabule, a white bean salad called piyaz, eggplant salad, and a chopped tomato and cucumber salad. I was a bit wary of the hummus, as I am sort of picky about my hummus, (I do have an Israeli passport, after all) but I watched him seal the plastic top into the aluminum tin expertly and pass it to the cashier, who grabbed a huge chunk of their homemade bread out of the oven and pack it all into a brown bag. And the bill? $8. Instead of getting back on the train I decided to save $2 and walk the 40 blocks or so home. My bread may have gotten cold, but at least the stroll down Roosevelt Ave gave me some ideas for my next food adventure. An hour later (I could be exaggerating, but probably not, I'm a slow walker) I popped the bread into the toaster and broke out the salads. The bag may have tilted a bit on the way but everything was still intact. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The eggplant salad was flavorful and smoky, the white beans were seasoned perfectly, and the baba was nothing to scoff at. I scooped it all up with the now warmed bread which was crispy on the bottom and flecked with sesame seeds. All in all a filling, satisfying, and cheap meal. So far so good. PS the hummus was fine.
Mangal Turkish Restaurant
46-20 Queens Blvd, Sunnyside