Since opening in 1998, the Turkish and Mediterranean eatery Turquoise has had two iterations: the original in Mamaroneck, which suffered a fire in 2004, and a second in its current home at 1895 Palmer Avenue in Larchmont.
The fire, “a blessing in disguise” says owner Emin Acar, did nothing to discourage fans and long time patrons from going the extra mile to find the restaurant nestled between two other Larchmont favorites, the Globe and Lusardi’s.
What to Love:
A blessing, in that Mr. Acar believes the new location was close enough to keep the “family” (as he affectionately calls his customers) coming and also appeal to a new cross-section of European ex-patriots and open-minded folks that appreciate the ethnic flare.
Chef Mustafa is Turkish and has been in charge of the kitchen for almost ten years. That spells consistency and authenticity.
The dolma, (stuffed grape leaves) is always fresh and seasoned lightly, while other typical meze offerings like babaganus, humus and ezme are teeming with flavor – a meal in themselves when served with fresh veggies for dipping or warm, puffy pita. Vegetarians won’t be bored.
When I am watching my weight and ”eating healthy,” Turquoise, is often my first pick. Even their heartiest dishes, such as succulent kebabs of chicken or lamb, are always fresh and made to order. Their fish, such as bronzini and durado, are void of heavy sauces, leaning instead on simple yet tasty variations, either broiled or sautéed. Eat them the traditional way – whole with head intact – or have them de-boned.
If you want lamb, you can count on Turquoise. For years, I was afraid to go down that road. But after finally tasting the beyti – a delicious fusion of chopped lamb, onion, garlic and herbs that is molded and char-grilled – I am a true convert.
Need To Know:
And the baklava never disappoints -never. In 11 years of dining at Turquoise, I have yet to have this Mediterranean pastry served any way but light, fluffy, and drenched in honey and freshly chopped pistachios. A small plate of the traditional desert along with the most robust and full-bodied Turkish tea served in little glass cups is the perfect sweet ending to your meal.
The atmosphere is comfortable and definitely cool, whether you sit in the exotically painted bar or at the tables, under the most colorful lamps this side of the Ottoman Empire. Owner Emin Acar or manager Necdet Kasimoglu is always there. They seem to know everyone by name, often asking about your latest trip abroad, or how the children are, and often giving a hearty hug. They are so open, welcoming and charming, you can imagine being transported somewhere overseas where the restaurants never close. It’s as if they have been waiting for you to walk in the door all day.
If you haven’t yet, it’s time to learn for yourself what so many others in the area have know for a long time: Turquoise in Larchmont is a real “Turkish Delight’.
Laura Smith is a writer, on-air personality at 106.7 LITE FM, voice-over artist and proud, long time resident of Larchmont/Mamaroneck. When asked what she makes for dinner, Laura replies, “Reservations.”