Monday, March 19, 2007

Konak Turkish Restaurant (3/8/07)

I know that it has been a while since either Farofa or French Fries has been here... this is mostly due to the fact that French Fries has had not much of an appetite for food (the eating of or the writing about) until this past Thursday, March 15th. As it happens, French Fries has been trying to secure a residency position in Emergency Medicine and the day that the match results (the aforementioned Ides of March) were announced was consequently one of great stress and ultimately exultation, as French Fries will soon be moving to Philadelphia to join Farofa in eating and cooking... and being a medical resident, but since when did that take up any time? After all, the kids on Grey's Anatomy always seem to have scads of free time, though they don't eat much.

Which is all to explain the spotty updating of this site. But never fear - the remainder of March will be a season of restaurant reviewing like the world has never seen before. Edit: Jesus gay - it's JUNE! Well, that didn't work out as planned.
And so, this world-shaking event starts with our visit to Konak. Farofa had been here once before, and French Fries has always thought of anything involving hummus as comfort food, so it was a good fit for the evening. The appetizer menu had a couple options we had never seen, and there is nothing Farofa likes better than ordering mysterious food, so we opted for the Sigara Borek (translated as 'cigar for non-smokers' on the adorable menu) and the Imam Bayildi (translated as 'priest fainted').

Filo dough with feta
The sigara borek were delicate fried tubes of filo dough filled with the lightest, most delicate, soft feta cheese that either Farofa or French Fries has ever had. They totally blow out the idea that feta is always a firm, salty, aggressive cheese. French Fries felt like she could honestly have made an entire meal out of just them.

Amazing eggplant salad
Farofa's heart, however, was already given over to the Imam Bayildi. The reason for the funny name is apparently debated - the menu said that some people think the fainting was because of how much olive oil is needed to make the dish, while others think the priest fainted due to how delicious it is. Farofa's sensibilities are definitely with the latter group. This is one dish that Farofa & French Fries are definitely going to try to re-create at home if they come across any sweet tiny baby eggplants just begging to be sauteed with pine nuts, garlic and peppers in their Reading Terminal excursions.

Mussles skewer
Farofa also had the skewered pan-fried mussels, which she described as tasty, but suffered from comparison to our other two fantastic starters. For our main, we succumbed, as we almost always do at the type of restaurants where such things are available, to the allure of the 'everything plate.' It's like Noah's ark but with food, and it addresses French Fries's near-crippling inability to order decisively when she is nervous about other things, so a good solution. While we devoured our falafel, grape leaves, hummus and the tabouli salad, the ezme and eggplant salad did not do so well. We may just have been full from what came before, but I think it mostly was that, compared to the star dishes that started our meal and the very tasty basics that filled it out (the hummus zesty with lemon juice and green olive oil, the tabouli tasting of all wonderful fresh herbs), dishes that would have been fully serviceable at another restaurant, at Kanak are outshone completely.

Veggie Platter

Farofa: **** out of 5
French Fries: **** out of 5

Forks Down Verdict: The priest may really have fainted, and who can blame him with food this good? We'll be back soon for some more delicious Mediterranean chow.

Konak Turkish Restaurant
228 Vine St
Philadelphia, PA 19106