NEW YORK BLADE
APRIL 30 2004
LAMB CHOPS ($15.50) CAN BE
tricky to do right, but here are tender
and flavorful, perhaps among the best
I’ve ever tasted. The same could be said
for the spicy lamb, which is more of a
cutlet than a chop, served in combination with spicy chicken ($13.50).
The mixed grill ($16.50) is an overflowing combination of the above, plus
chicken kabobs and doner meat.
Chicken kabobs are tender and juicy.
Doner — vertically grilled lamb served
in thin slices — looks like standardissue souvlaki. One bite disabuses you
of that notion as the crisp but juicy
FIESTA of the YEAR
Home of the
$3 9955 Reg. Size
O F T HE
488 3rd Ave,(at 33 St.)
Beer & Wine
THERE WAS A BRIEF BUT GLORIOUS
time in my neighborhood when restaurant impresario Orhan Yegen opened
Effendi, a storefront Turkish eatery
with an emphasis on prepared foods.
The place forever raised the bar for ethnic takeout.
Yegen was always on hand, talking
to his customers with wild-eyed fervor
about the food he served. On one occasion, he told me about a new restaurant
he was devising. He planned to call it
“Divane,” a word he defined as “crazy
For the uninitiated, the menu at
Divane is surprisingly brief. With only
four appetizers and a main-course assortment consisting of only grilled meats,
patrons looking for more complicated
haute cuisine might expect to be disappointed. Their dismay will end in short
order with the arrival of food to table —
although vegetarians will be appalled
and are advised to dine elsewhere.
Appetizers are made for sharing; it’s
the best way to appreciate the variety
of flavors Yegen achieves with relatively few ingredients. Lahmacun ($3) is a
crispy pita topped with ground lamb. If
you’re on the fence about lamb, one
bite of this herb-infused concoction
will make you an out-and-out fan.
Cacik ($4.50) arrived as a plate of
lumpy yogurt cucumber dip, presumably familiar to anyone who has had
tzatziki. However, any similarities to
that Greek staple end with the first bite
of this tart and creamy crowd pleaser,
redolent of garlic and mint. Use it as a
dip for the house bread, a flat loaf
that’s crispy on the outside, soft on the
inside, and served oven fresh.
The night we visited Divane, one of
the off-menu appetizer additions was a
yogurt mint soup. This was a treat, as it
was our favorite item from the now
defunct Effendi. It’s a warm, silky,
musky brew that must be experienced
to be believed.
The grilled main courses range from
$13.50 for spicy duck to $17.50 for filet
mignon. On the lighter side, the menu
features a grilled salmon ($13.50).
Considering that the main courses are
made of nothing but meat, the portions
are generous and give good value for
Take Out /Delivery
a restaurant & bar
Mother’s Day is
Vegetarians, beware: Divane is a meat-lover’s
Turkish paradise in Hell’s Kitchen.
strips melt in your mouth.
The main courses are plated with
shredded carrots and a salad of onion
and herbs that we found unpleasantly
bitter. Given the quantity and quality of
the grilled meat at the center of our
plates, we chose to consider these merely garnishes. Side dishes were cracked
wheat and a Turkish rice pilaf (“The
most flavorful rice in the world,”
according to our waiter.).
Service is attentive, knowledgeable
and friendly. Our waiter checked in
with us frequently, keeping our water
glasses filled, and even brought us
fresh bread before our old bread was
Unlike some other Turkish restaurants in the city, where the atmosphere
strives for old-world ornate decadence,
Divane is bright and stylish. The aesthetic here is more Turkish ultramodern, sort of a “Jetsons go to Istanbul
with Thom Filicia.”
There’s evocative music playing — a
dervish trance track — but it’s not so
loud as to discourage quiet conversation.
In fact, given the rising noise levels at
restaurants throughout the city, the ambient volume here made for a nice change.
Everyone I know, native and tourist
alike, is always looking for the perfect
pre-theater dinner. Nothing too heavy,
lest we fall asleep at our seats; something elegant but fast.
For the foreseeable future, Divane
will be my first choice.
Sunday May 9th
Mother’s Day is a time of commemoration
& celebration for MOM. It’s a time of breakfast
in bed, family gatherings, crayon scribbled “I
Love You’s”, and dinner at A.O.C Bedford.
MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS TODAY
before it’s too late...
“Restaurants like A.O.C Bedford have
defined Greenwich Village for generations”
- New York Times
14 Bedford St. (near 6th Ave. & Houston)
212-414-4764 • aocbedford.com
Restaurant - Bar - Big City Italian
349 greenwich street
new york city
Bring an appetite,
Sit back, socialize
888 8th Ave. (at 52nd Street)
RATINGS OUT OF FOUR STARS
AVERAGE ENTRÉE: $16
Bocal Cafe & Bistro
169 Sullivan ~ 212.387.8801
Sunday Brunch Special 12-4
Happy Hour Special M-F 4-7
196 8th Ave. @ 20th St. ~ 212.242.4551