You know a restaurant is good when you can’t stop thinking about it when you get home, while still feeling a bit stuffed, still wanting more. That’s how I felt after dinner at Bosphorus in Cambridge.
Bosphorus is a gorgeous space, with warm brown and orange colors, cozy booths, and a long bar area.
Always the food bloggers, we opted for a long table right in front of the window for optimal photo lighting.
The General Manager of Bosphorus, Hakan, was so welcoming, and instead of placing individual orders, he brought out some of their most popular dishes. We started with the ezme, one of the dishes I wanted to try the most.
Ezme: Spicy tomato & red pepper dip made with onions, green peppers, parsley, olive oil & spices.
Served with soft pita bread, the ezme actually reminded me of something my mom makes, a slow-simmered sauce/sandwich topping of tomatoes, onions, and peppers. It had a slight hint of spice and lots of flavor.
After the ezme, we were presented with two vegetarian meze platters. I could have easily stopped here and eaten the variety of meze all night long.
The meze platters were chock full of fresh vegetables, yogurt, grains, and chickpeas and included the following dishes.
HAYDARI (YOGURT DIP)
Thick strained yogurt dip with garlic, mint & olive oil.
Mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, garlic, olive oil & lemon juice.
KISIR (BULGUR SALAD)
Fine-ground bulgur (cracked wheat) mixed with parsley & tomato paste, garnished with romaine lettuce & tomatoes.
MERCIMEK KOFTESI (RED LENTIL PATTIES)
Mashed red lentils, cracked wheat, scallions & parsley.
PATLICAN CIFTLIK (WHIPPED EGGPLANT)
Char-grilled eggplant puree mixed with red & yellow peppers, olive oil & lemon juice.
ZEYTINYAGLI SARMA (VEGETARIAN STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES)
Your choice of grape leaves or cabbage, stuffed with rice, pine nuts, currants, onions & herbs, cooked with olive oil.
ZEYTINYAGLI DOLMA (VEGETARIAN STUFFED PEPPERS or ZUCCHINI)
Your choice of green peppers or zucchini stuffed with rice, pine nuts, currants, onions & herbs, cooked with olive oil.
I loved the variety of flavors, textures, and temperatures on this platter. I could eat the yogurt dip on anything and everything. My favorite part of this course may have been the red lentil patties, wrapped in lettuce and doused with a bright squeeze of lemon juice. You will probably be seeing my homemade attempt very soon.
I also loved the grape leaves which had a sweet and savory filling. I would order each and every one of these dishes on its own, or all together again.
I have tried wine from many regions, but last night was my first time trying Turkish wine. Due to the warm weather and type of food I expected, I went with a white wine, Kavaklidere Cankaya made from Emir, Narince and Sultana grapes. Our waitress described it as similar to a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, and she was spot on. This wine was delicious! I was glad that I chose it as it went perfectly with the food selection and was very refreshing and light, a good thing when we saw what was next.
We shared three large entrees:
Braised Lamb shank wrapped in eggplant, served with bulgur pilaf
I don’t normally eat lamb, but I had a bite of the meat and a generous helping of the vegetables and rich sauce from this dish. The meat was falling off of the bone, braised until so tender, and the flavors were fantastic.
Chef’s special: Pan seared chicken breast stuffed with spinach, mushroom, apricot & almonds, Served over potato puree
I loved the sweetness that came from the apricot and figs in this very tender chicken dish. The potato puree was heavenly and served as the perfect backdrop for the juicy chicken.
Our third dish was a vegetarian one, served with cracked bulgur and yogurt.
SEBZELI GUVEC (VEGETABLE CASSEROLE)
Mixed vegetable casserole with potatoes, eggplants, mushrooms, carrots, peppers & celery served with bulgur and yogurt
This was the perfect vegetarian entrée. The yogurt and bulgur made it a complete meal, and the variety of fresh veggies made it healthy and delicious.
Our final course was naturally dessert. I was curious about several of the dessert menu items and was grateful when we got to try them all!
Layers of phyllo dough filled with pistachios and sweetened with syrup.
SEKERPARE (‘SUGAR BIT’)
Baked semolina and almond pastries soaked in the sweetness of a lemony syrup
The Sekerpare was one of my favorites. It was creamy and gently sweet with a hint of fresh lemon.
ASURE a.k.a. Noah’s Dessert
A festive pudding of cereal grains, chickpeas, beans, dry fruits & nuts.
“According to a legend, it was originally concocted in the galley of Noah’s ark from whatever was left in the pantry.”
I have never had chickpeas in a dessert before, but I enjoyed this rice pudding like dish and would love to eat it for breakfast!
Shredded phyllo dough filled with fresh mozzarella cheese, baked, topped with syrup and pistachios
Holy amazing! This was like a sweet, flaky mozzarella stick. It sounds like an odd combination, but it was so right. The outer layer was crunchy, buttery, and sweet with honey, and the middle was oozing with warm mozzarella. It was pure comfort in a bowl.
I loved that none of the desserts was super sweet, and aside from the baklava, they were different than anything I have had.
We had a one of a kind experience at Bosphorus, and I am excited to return with my husband. The booths are ideal for date nights, and there are plenty of other dishes, Turkish wines, and Turkish beers I would like to try. The service was fantastic; our waitress knew about the entire wine list and spoke about it in a way we could relate to, comparing the wines to varietals that most people would be familiar with. Everyone was warm, happy to share information about the food, and completely welcoming.