By Alix Cohen
Almost hidden among the small shops and eateries of 72nd St. between Columbus and Amsterdam, Seven’s Mediterranean Turkish Grill offers fresh, gently seasoned, extremely good, classic meals in a casual neighborhood atmosphere. Come to our shopping event at Boutique Off Broadway on Thursday May 13, and enjoy a discount when you dine at this Upper East Side restaurant. (See story on our front page).
The approximately twenty by sixty dining room (there are also a few tables by a small service bar) is painted saffron yellow, decorated with kitchy regional accents. The lighting is forgiving, the music barely audible. This is a place one can actually talk without atmospheric competition. Service is excellent, friendly, and actually offered by waitresses born in the area of the cuisine, not aspiring actors. The bill is moderate. Frankly, what more could one ask?
We started with glasses of the Malbec, which was full bodied and woody. At the same time, a basket of irresistible oil-brushed bread with black sesame seeds arrived. (Made in house) We were tempted to decimate the thick, savory rectangles but appetizers were served promptly.
Appetizers: Mediterranean Salad: romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, tomato and cucumber topped with feta and black olives, tossed in the lightest oil and lemon dressing, is balanced and tasty. (Shepherd’s Salad, enjoyed at an earlier lunch time visit, is equally palatable, perfectly crunchy, and makes a healthy, flavorful meal mixed with an excellent humus.) We found the Char-Grilled Calamari tender, almost delicate; its unexpected condiment a yoghurt dressing for which I can think of many uses. The splendid Mixed Appetizer Plate is comprised of a hearty serving of lebni, humus, eggplant salad, tabuleh, and eggplant with sauce, each better than its neighbor and none of them afflicted with the excess salt so prevalent in meze these days.
Entrees: Sauted Shrimp with fresh tomato, onions, and green peppers is treated to another light sauce (clearly, a skill of this kitchen) which blends with the natural juice of the vegetables. Rice is well separated; a ready absorber of the pleasing liquids.
The Mixed Grill is so generous it could feed two or provide lunch the next day: a large oval platter of: chicken Adana kebab (a ground and mildly spiced “sausage”) thinly sliced, lamb shish kebab (without its skewer,) doner kebab (a soupcon of the ground lamb recipe generally found in a gyro,) a lamb chop, and two chunks of chicken kebab with rice and shredded greens. Whew. Each meat is nicely cooked to its own requirements.
Desserts: Baklava is simply ambrosial and fresh Baked Rice Pudding, is smoother and creamier than any I’ve sampled. The decaffeinated coffee is quite good (embarrassing to order in a predominantly Turkish bastion) and the Turkish coffee rates high.
Here is a restaurant to think of for lunch or dinner after shopping at Fairway, Zabar’s, Urban Outfitters, or Boutique Off Broadway. A place to stop after walking up from a performance at Lincoln Center, a film at Lincoln Plaza or before attending a show literally upstairs at The Triad. Your meal will be healthy and good, the experience completely pleasant and your company, mercifully audible. A neighborhood find.
Seven’s Mediterranean Turkish Grill
158 West 72nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus
Daily 11:45 – 10:30