We hung loose at Pera SOHO, their new outpost on a beautiful Saturday.
It was a bright and sunny day after a relatively cloudy and rainy week, so we decided to make use of the weather. If nothing else, Saturday brunches are our typical Saturday plans. It was the husband, I and the regular friend. It was a lazy start to the Saturday and I did not want to spend more time looking for a brunch/ lunch place. I already had Pera Soho in mind for their lovely patio seating after looking at their pictures online, so before leaving for brunch, I made a reservation for an early dinner at 6:30.
We started with wanting to go for dosas and ended up having Mexican food for lunch. Tio Pepe was where went, on J’s recommendation to S, but neither of us liked the food. The place was nice and we sat by their ceiling to floor open windows but food disappointed us.
After that, we headed to Lincoln center, lazed for a while in their plaza/ park area which was gorgeous. Then, went for great coffee to Zabar’s up on Broadway between 80th and 81st.
From there, we walked to the Riverside park, had some conversations about Christianity and Hinduism and then started ascending down to be at Pera.
After spending a wonderful evening at El Parador, for over three hours over dinner, we decided we could do that tonight as well – with the place being packed, but not super to have to rush us.
We started with a bottle of cabernet, which we thought was steeply priced. It did not seem like full body, but very smooth and not heavy or round. They got us herbed bread, with olive oil and a bean paste dip to get started. The bean paste dip was wonderful. Not totally pasty, not totally chunky – but more liquid than a hummus. It had just the right amount of garlic, salt and tartiness to it. Our server, Carlos was very friendly and cheerful.
For starters, we began with warm hummus, lentil & bulgur kofte and vegetable stuffed bell pepper with dill labne. I didn’t like the hummus as much and I learnt that evening that I’d prefer it cold. It was nicely garnished with crushed pepper, fresh parsely and dusted with herbs. The pita chips were a different take on the regular ones – more like pita bread toasted. Very very crisp. The lentil and bulgur kofte were served cold over hearts of romaine with lemon on the side. It had a very Indian taste to it, but unlike Indian kofte (fried balls) which are served hot. These were more of the lentil mix put together into patties. I think it went well with the hearts of romaine which were fresh, but we could have done with some spiced sauce to with on the side. The romaine hearts did a fine job of not making the kofte too concentrated or dry to eat. The grated radish on the top were a nice way to put some health into the food.
We sipped on our wines and ate at leisure. The green pepper was stuffed with big cut pieces of carrots, beans, tomatoes and mushrooms. The pepper was perfectly baked – was easy enough to cut with the butter knife. I guess it had the regular middle eastern spices and olive oil. I don’t think the labne with dill was necessary to go with this dish at all. In fact, they should have served it with the kofte. The labne was a disappointment anyway.
We took some more time over our conversations before we ordered our main course. I went for the vegetarian lentil adana. The adana is a long piece of mince meat, in this case lentils, spiced with mediterranean spices, scallions and parsley and grilled. It was served over a flatbread, with grilled eggplant, green chillies and tomatoes on the side. It was tasty, light and healthy. Not greasy and tasted like the bulgur and lentils kofte, only warmer and more solid. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adana_kebab
The husband and the friend ordered turkey, which they served with a side of bulgur pilaf. I am a vegetarian, but I did taste the pilaf which I believe was done in clarified butter. It was delicious. A must eat item there, I would say.
The desserts menu did not spike my interest, but we ordered the chocolate cardamom mousse, which was a perfect end to our fantastic meal. Very soft and rich, with the best cream over it.
Our server said that we were one of his favourite tables ever, sitting peacefully and contend. We returned his making our day by letting him know that he was one of our best servers ever, as well :)
A place to sit outside in the open, on a nice day, but worth peeking inside for this wonderful train photograph over their wall inside.
Go spend a beautiful evening there.