Thursday, January 22, 2009

Turkish Cuisine Westchester: Welcome!

My stars. What an absolute delight to get some delicious (and cheap!) Turkish food right in White Plains.

Yup, Turkish Cuisine Westchester (no points for originality, but thumbs up for saying what you mean) is now open for business. It’s a tiny, narrow establishment on Mamaroneck Avenue with a few seats at the counter to eat in, and about six tables in the back for dining, but this place screams takeout (with free delivery in White Plains).

My friend and I were jazzed to finally see some more economical suggestions for takeout in White Plains. A little healthy competition for David King Chinese Restaurant, if you will. We took a peek last night, and lemmee tell you, this place begs future visits. The menu is exciting and diverse. Everything looked delicious.

We started with:

Smoked eggplant mixed with tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil: $4.50

A friendly server placed it before us, and was caught off-guard when she saw me taking a picture of the food. “If you’re taking pictures, I’ll make the plates nice for you!” she protested. (See some of the babaganush dripping off the bottom side of the plate?) Never you mind. This was some kick-ass babaganush. It may look a little oily from my picture, but rest-assured, this was so incredibly fresh and smoky, I was in heaven. Best I’ve ever tasted. Some of the eggplant was not completely pureed, which added a nice texture. Accompanying the babaganush was soft, warm, absolutely exquisite pita bread.

Also as an appetizer, we shared:

Mix chickpeas, parsley and mint fried and served with tahini: $4.95

This was great falafel. I wished I had ordered it in a sandwich, because I think I prefer all the flavors working together as opposed to just the patty. But the outside was crisp, the inside not too dense, and not at all greasy.

For entrees, we split:

Chicken Gyro (Sandwich): $6.95

This was pretty good also, but probably the least favorite thing I tried that night. I’d order it again, and to be fair, I had some preconceived ideas of what it would be. When I was perusing the menu and saw “Shuarma” I immediately was reminded of my favorite Middle Eastern Restaurant of all time, Alfanoose in downtown Manhattan, which does a killer Chicken Shawarma on a pita with lettuce, tomatoes, some red pickled onions, and tahini. The chicken is marinated in vinegar and spices and the end result just sends the sandwich out of this world.

The sandwich I had contained good chicken, but it wasn’t as flavorful, and I really missed the zing from the pickled onions. Just a matter of preference. Also, my pic looks a little gray. It wasn't. It's just my mediocre photography.

But enough about that, you’re probably wondering what’s behind that chicken gyro. And that’s the other stand-out of the night.

Meatballs, or “Kofte”
Ground lamb and beef mixed with traditional Turkish spices, crumbled bread, minced onions, grilled: $9.95

Holy cow, maybe you can tell from the picture how moist this dish was. It was that moist, and then some. …firmer than your average meatball, but still tender and juicy, with a wonderful grilled flavor. We absolutely loved this dish, and the rice was pretty special too – seasoned and fluffy.

For dessert, we split:

Baklava: $3.50

Again, hopefully you can see how moist this is. Hehe. Moist, moist, moist. The phyllo dough still manages to stay crisp, but the pastry is coated in a heavenly syrup. These were little bites of perfection. And that cute, curious little coffee cup in the back? That’s Turkish Coffee ($1.50) and I have absolutely no reference to judge if it was good coffee or bad coffee because it was my first Turkish coffee. It was strong and sweet, and a lot less thick than your regular cup of joe. But the bottom of the cup was really thick, like motor oil. I'm not sure if that's normal. It looks pretty, though, no?

At one point, Apo, the head chef, stopped by to see how we were enjoying our meal. We learned he’s also the head chef of Turkish Meze in Mamaroneck, which explains a lot. I had enjoyed a wonderful moussaka at Turkish Meze last summer with my mother, and now I think I’ll have to find my way back. But I’ll definitely be coming back to Mamaroneck Avenue.

Babaganush. Get some.

3/25/09, UPDATE: Unfortunately, this place has some major kinks to work out with its delivery service. They still know how to make babaganush, but if you call to order it, chances are they won't include pita bread, even if you tell them that they failed to include it the last time and you really, really want pita bread this time. Multiple missing items, big communication problems on the phone (being placed on hold, shouting in the background, someone else coming to the phone after you've placed your order and starting from scratch with someone new), and even though your address is saved in their database, being called multiple times (highest has been four calls in one night) to find your apartment. C'mon, Turkish Cuisine: you're better than that! Most unforgiveable, the last falafel sandwich was completely underseasoned. They either forgot the tahini sauce, or the tahini sauced lacked flavor. I was pretty peeved this last time. But then I ate their rice pudding (wonderful) and felt better.

Turkish Cuisine Westchester
116 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
(914) 683-6111


  1. I am so excited to try this! It is great to hear about some restaurants in White Plains (or the general area) that are a bit easier on the wallet!
    Great review!

  2. This place is positively addicting.
    Wonderful food and delightful hosts!

  3. Went there today for lunch and we loved everything we ordered. Thanks for the great suggestion.

  4. Hi Robin,
    Glad it worked out better for you than X20 - great report, by the way. As for Turkish Cuisine, Otto and I have since ordered takeout twice. The Lamb Gyro sandwich is my favorite thing on the menu - the lamb is very juicy, perhaps served a bit more rare than most places - absolutely delicious flavors. We've also ordered the falafel as a sandwich. Very impressive - one of the best first bites I've experienced in my history of eating falafel. Stuffed cabbage had very nice flavors, too-you could really taste the lamb in there, as opposed to just chopped beef.
    So far, they've been spot-on. If anything, I would downgrade their chicken gyro after sampling some of the rest of their menu. It was my least favorite thing, and even that was pretty decent.

  5. Never had Turkish meal before and it make me curious on the foods they are serving. As I look on the food above I think they are all good and really tasty. I'll definitely try to eat once in this restaurant.