Friday, April 18, 2014

Bosphorus Bistro

Several months back, the Minx purchased a Groupon for Bosphorus Bistro. I was curious to check the place out since I had never had Turkish food before and we had been happy with the pizza and sandwiches from their sister restaurant Toss. Also, Bosphorus Bistro is located only about 10 minutes from our home. Bad weather and other commitments prevented us from going for quite a while, but one sunny Saturday, we decided we had to head down York Road and try their wares.

The restaurant is quite dark with strings of lights along the walls to provide a soft glow. We were seated in one of the wood booths along the wall and settled in with the menu. Since our goal at any restaurant is to experience as many different items as possible, we decided to try the mixed mezze platter which allows you to choose four items from the appetizers list. We went with the pink sultan (mainly because the name intrigued us), baba ganoush, kisir, and dolma.

Mixed mezze platter with pink sultan, baba ganoush, kisir, and dolma
The pink sultan was a dip consisting of beets and garlic mixed in labne (yogurt-based cheese). I've never been a fan of beets, but the earthy flavor that normally turns me off seemed mitigated by the garlic and the creamy, tangy labne. I actually found myself enjoying it, especially when scooped onto the fresh pita bread. I'm also not crazy about eggplant, but I'm quite content to devour a well-prepared baba ganoush and the one served at Bosphorus was lemony and slightly smoky. Kisir was new to me: a blend of bulgar wheat, mint, onion, tomato, and pepper. The bulgar wheat gave the dip a hearty, nutty flavor while the other ingredients brought the familiar flavors of the Mediterranean. The tomato especially provided a refreshing brightness. The dolma were dense little packages of rice wrapped in grape leaves. I always love the soft texture of grape leaves.

Lamb Chops
For entrees, I order the lamb chops and Minx ordered the cizbiz kofta. My lamb chops were tender with just the right amount of sear and a fine grilled flavor. Minx's kofta were four savory lamb patties that also had a nice taste of the grill. My chops were herbacious and salty in a good way, while the Minx's cizbiz were well seasoned. Both dishes were served on a bed of buttery rice with mushrooms and a large amount of red and green chopped bell pepper scattered around the edge of the plate.

Cizbiz kofta
For someone who loves rice, I was happy to nom away on the generous portion of slightly sticky rice. However, the large quantity of bell pepper was unnecessary. Both the mushrooms and the peppers were undercooked, existing in that odd textural limbo between not quite crunchy and raw tasting, but not quite soft and sweet either. Minx and I felt that a smaller quantity of vegetables would be fine, especially if they were first finely chopped and/or roasted.

The owner greeted us at the door when we came in and he stopped by during our meal to see how we liked everything. We had a pleasant conversation and he seemed genuinely interested in our feedback about the food and the restaurant. Based on the number of customers who greeted him as they entered the restaurant, it's clear that he is building a clientele of diners who enjoy visiting the restaurant on a regular basis. We are also eager to go back and try some of their other Middle Eastern dishes.

Bosphorus Bistro
5716 York Road
Baltimore, MD 21212
(410) 323-0300

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