It is a storefront you would walk past hundreds of times without noticing. The clean white-table clothed interior is equally unassuming. But the lunchtime crowds at Turkish Grill on Queens Boulevard are not simply there because of the $8.95 lunch special that includes a starter, entrée and soft drink. The Mediterranean cuisine here is straightforward, fresh, and some of the most delicious in the neighborhood. But yes, there is the incredible lunch special, which is difficult to pass up.
For starters, choose from a shepherd’s salad of cubed tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers and parsley tossed in a light vinaigrette, or perhaps lentil soup, smoky babaganush or patlican salatasi (eggplant puree or salad), creamy hummus, lebni (dill yogurt with walnuts and garlic) or a generous portion of piyaz (white bean salad). The tabouleh salad is crisp and cool, with specks of bulgur and shredded scallions and parsley in olive oil. The dishes here are loaded with bright flavors that are refreshingly light on the stomach.
Entrée options include classic Turkish kebabs, from paprika-rich lamb adana, to herbed chicken, lamb doner shaved from the spit, cubed lamb shish kebabs, to ground lamb kofte—each accompanied with rice, grilled peppers, and pickled cabbage and onions. Sandwich versions of each (without the appetizer and drink) are also available at lunch for just $5.
If you want to stray from the prix fixe, add an appetizer for the table or crave a beautiful vegetarian option, the mixed appetizer is a fantastic dip sampler, with generous portions of Lebini, humus, eggplant salad, Tabuleh, eggplant with sauce and Piyaz.
Other recommended add-ons include a Lahmacun for $3.75—a Turkish “pizza” with ground lamb and chopped vegetables, ideal for sharing. The pide are also delicious, like pastry boats filled with Turkish kashar cheese and your choice of filling (go for the sucuklu with sliced Turkish sausage and mozzarella).
An entrée worthy of deviating from the lunch special is the Karides Guvec, a shrimp casserole loaded with mushrooms and vegetables, baked with a bubbling brown crust of cheese, and served with rice.
For dessert, the baklava is superb, and certain to satiate your sweet tooth. Kunefe is also exceptional, a disc of molten cheese sandwiched between layers of shredded phyllo, drizzled with sweet warm syrup, and dusted with walnuts. Custard-lovers will enjoy a slice of kazan dibi, like Turkish flan with a caramelized top.
Come initially for the great deal and a fine introduction to Turkish cuisine at a reasonable price.
Return to explore the menu, and venture into some of the neighborhood’s tastiest Turkish cuisine.
42-03 Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
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