Tuesday night I had the opportunity to try out Bosphorus, a new Turkish restaurant in Inman Square along with Megan, Michelle, Emily, Daisy and Meghan. As soon as I stepped inside, I was struck by the exquisite and elegant decor.
While I had had similar food at mediterranean and middle eastern restaurants previously, I had never eaten at a Turkish restaurant and I was excited to try several new-to-me dishes.
We were started off with warm pita and ezme for dipping, a spicy tomato & red pepper dip made with onions, green peppers, parsley, olive oil & spices.
The meze platter that came next was without a doubt the highlight of the meal for me. It consisted of:
IMAM BAYILDI Whole baby eggplant stuffed with tomatoes, onions and herbs
HUMUS Mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice
PATLICAN CIFTLIK (WHIPPED EGGPLANT) Char-grilled eggplant puree mixed with red and yellow peppers, olive oil & lemon juice
ARTICHOKE SALAD Artichoke hearts and fresh vegetables tossed with olive oil & lemon juice
KISIR Fine-ground bulgur mixed with parsley and tomato paste
HAYDARI Thick strained yogurt dip with garlic, mint & olive oil
MERCIMEK KOFTESI (RED LENTIL PATTIES) Mashed red lentils, cracked wheat, scallions and parsley
ZEYTINYAGLI SARMA Grape leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, currants, onions and herbs
I loved every single item on the platter. The whole baby eggplant was roasted to a caramelized, silky consistency. The red lentil patties, which I’ve seen on several restaurant menus and blogs of late, were flavorful and satisfyingly hearty. I loved eating them in the lettuce leaf they are served on, topped with either of the eggplants or the yogurt. The yogurt dip was thick and tangy and paired beautifully with both eggplant dishes. The whole platter was a succulent mix of flavors and textures, with each item standing well on its own, but equally delicious paired with one of the others.
SULTAN’S CHICKEN Pan seared chicken breast stuffed with spinach and mushroom, topped with apricot and almonds, served over potato puree.
BOSPHORUS KEBAB Braised Lamb shank wrapped in eggplant.
SEBZELI GUVEC- Mixed vegetable casserole with potatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, carrots, peppers and celery served with bulgur and yogurt. I was more than sated after the meze platter, but those wanting something meatless would do well to try the casserole as well. The large chunks of vegetables are stewed to a soft sweetness and are bathed in a rich broth. It is excellent mixed with the chewy and nutty bulgur served on the side.
The first dessert was KUNEFE- shredded phyllo dough filled with fresh mozzarella cheese, baked and topped with syrup. I love desserts made with shredded phyllo dough, which has a wonderfully crispy texture on the outside. The inside was moist and sticky from the syrup. The mozzarella filling was certainly unusual for a dessert. The gooey, stretchy cheese contrasted nicely with the crispy phyllo.
Alongside the kunefe was ASURE a.k.a. Noah’s Dessert- a pudding of cereal grains, chickpeas, beans, dry fruits & nuts. I loved the use of beans and chickpeas in a sweet dish. The pudding was light in consistency and was topped with chewy currants and crunchy hazelnuts. When people think of mediterranean desserts, pastries drenched in sticky sweet syrups often come to mind. This pudding was refreshingly reserved in its sweetness.
My favorite of the desserts was the SEKERPARE (‘SUGAR BIT’) – baked semolina and almond pastries soaked in a lemony syrup. They were dense, nutty and sticky. If you have ever tried halvah, these had a similar creamy and crumbly texture, kept moist with a healthy dose of syrup. The pistachio BAKLAVA was softer than most baklava I have had. Instead of layers of phyllo baked to a crisp, these remained soft and tender.
In addition to beautiful decor and flawlessly executed dishes, the service was exceedingly pleasant. General Manager Hakan provided a wonderful sampling of the offerings at Bosphorus. He and the servers took the time to explain each dish in detail. Hakan also spoke to us about the process of opening Bosphorus and why he chose Inman Square. I am thrilled with this excellent new addition to the Cambridge dining scene. Whether you are a fan of mediterranean flavors or if you are less familiar with them, I highly recommend checking out Bosphorus.