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El Turco in East Hampton – a Turkish Delight!

We had the pleasure of reviewing El Turco, the new Turkish restaurant in East Hampton. Its mildly hidden location does not do this Michelin star studded menu justice. Once you’ve found the place, its atmosphere will transport you with its serenity. Its funky, dimly lit, multi-leveled dining floors with hints of modern Mediterranean design gives just the right evening atmosphere to put you in the mood for indulgence.

Once seated, there was no hesitation from our welcoming and attentive server, Ergun, to bring fresh pita and an adorable bowl of perfectly pungent grilled olives. The owner and the chef greeted us warmly with our ice cold, freshly juiced cocktails, and it became clear straight away that we were in for an authentic Turkish experience, with elements of the menu coming straight from their own mother’s kitchen.

Our flawless first course of mezes got us off to a wonderful start and extraordinary dining experience! The roasted beet hummus was earthy and vibrant, while the baba ganoush was timeless, rich and deeply satisfying. The pilaki beans felt festive and nostalgic after the chef shared his mother’s secret ingredient, cinnamon, while the cacik, or tzatziki, was refreshing and resetting. Above all, the Chef’s Kiss went to the presentation and perfect harmony of the spicy garlic butter yogurt dip. The level of spice in this dish was not overpowering or underwhelming, as it gave just enough heat to continue to enjoy the other flavors on the table.

The chef returned with a delicate serving of calamari that was both crispy and light, and as the main course made it’s way to the table, I was in full denial that I had already filled myself to the brim! With a dog in the dining room as the server’s audience, deboning the branzino table-side not only elevated the service, but also made eating the fish effortless and therefore more enjoyable.

The added experience of this meal gave the illusion of being seaside somewhere in Turkey. The El Turco kebab, a “mom style meatball” made of both lamb and beef, was the seasoned, comforting component to counterbalance the light and clean flavors of the fish. It also paired well with what was left of the meze starters which we refused to let the server clear.

Overall, the meal was aromatic, diverse, and very well balanced with warming and cooling elements to alternate between. The oven baked rice pudding and a Turkish style espresso martini was just the nightcap we needed to round out the meal. The satisfaction that comes from such a dynamic cuisine is what I love most about authentic Mediterranean restaurants like El Turco.

El Turco East Hampton is the result of a casual meeting between one of El Turco’s founders and Frank Cilione, the longtime operator of the dual restaurant and nightlife venue on Three Mile Harbor Road in East Hampton. Soon thereafter, Mr. Cilione hired the original El Turco founders Nurdan Gur Yuzbasioglu, Gokhan Yuzbasioglu along with developer and visionary Cagri Kanver to assist in realizing their collective vision.

Located close to the heart of East Hampton at 44 Three Mile Harbor Road, the newest El Turco officially opened July 8th. El Turco has created a chef’s tasting experience that will take guests on a culinary journey with the best use of Turkish food reflective of the grand tastes and traditional expressions of the rich cultural heritage mixed with a modern presentation of bold flavors.

To add even more to feast upon and experience while dining, an eclectic range of live entertainment & curated music are featured as guests enjoy food and drinks. Whether already a devoted Miami patron who is Out East on vacation or a visitor from New York, everyone will fall in love with the Turkish hospitality of El Turco. So what are you waiting for?!! The upcoming Hamptons International Film Festival might just be the right time to try this cozy, new hot spot.


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September 9th, 2022 Posted by | wine & dine...our take | no comments