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Köz Köfte June 27, 2010

Posted by Steven Bartus in Turkish Cuisine.
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Köfte, like döner, is another ubiquitous favorite of Turkish cuisine around the city, and also like döner, it comes in varying degrees of quality. In the early days of this blog, I wrote about Roka, a köfte joint in Bahçelievler that puts a twist on the norm with a large, table-top salad. Through an email from Başask, I learned that there are more places in Ankara that offer this option. She recommended Köz Köfte in Ulus for an even better version of the offerings at Roka. Yesterday, I finally got around to making to the trip across town and would agree with Başak: it’s definitely better.

The formula at Köz Köfte is familiar: a collection of greens and other veggies are spread over the table, doused with lemon juice and topped with roasted garlic and tomatoes. Köz Köfte, though, makes a nice addition with several pieces of çiğ köfte. While I will admit that this particular batch was very much on the average side, it was still a great complement to the lettuce and lemon.

You are given three options for your köfte: acılı (spicy), sade (plain) and kaşarlı (with cheese). Given my preference for spice, I went with the acılı. It was fresh and nicely prepared. In particular, I appreciated that it was not inundated with salt. The meal is finished with a serving of delicious helva, which compares favorably to that of Recep Usta and Çukurağa Sofrası.

The sentiment that I expressed back in September about Roka and last week about the döner at Süha’nın Yeri is also applicable with Köz Köfte: this is not a life-changing meal. The köfte is very tasty and I like the addition of the salad to the meal, but I still tend to find that the best köfte in Ankara comes from the mobile eateries that I wrote about in January.

Although novel compared to the norm, the salad-köfte model remains in need of innovation. It’s not enough to spread a bunch of greens on top of a table. Köz Köfte is on the right track with the çiğ köfte, but why not include some ezme and maybe hummus as well? Without a few additions, the salad will always feel somewhat underutilized.

Köz Köfte is on Kazım Karabekir Cad. (Google Maps). A portion of köfte with drink comes to around 14TL ($8.90 at 1.58TL/$).

Göksu October 26, 2009

Posted by Steven Bartus in Turkish Cuisine.
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Göksu receives much praise from locals and guide books alike.  The venerable Lonely Planet writes:

Fine dining with uniformed staff and a terrace discreetly shielded from the street by glass and vines. It’s popular with besuited blokes guzzling mezes and rakı (aniseed-flavoured grape brandy).

Goksu-6With great reviews abound, I sat down at Göksu this past week expecting a memorable meal.  Surprisingly, I left very disappointed.

Göksu’s menu is huge; it offers an overwhelming number of options, spanning all aspects of Turkish cuisine.  In my experience this tends to produce mediocrity: it’s difficult to be good at anything if one tries to do everything.  Apprehensively, my partner and I ordered the çoban salatası and the humus.  Both were average.  For our entrées, we chose the patlıcan souğme kebab and the bostan kebab.  The former consists of grilled lamb in a eggplant pureé.  It was tasty, but not remarkable.  The later choice, however, was quite terrible.  Something of a lamb and eggplant casserole, the seasoning was lackluster and the overall flavoring was oddly sweet in off-putting manner.  Finally, we tried the helva for dessert.  It was decent, but far from noteworthy.  In this account the prevailing theme of my dinner at Göksu is obvious: it’s good, but not great.

I don’t consider my experience at Göksu to be an authoritative account of its potential; I haphazardly sampled only a few of the many options on the menu.  In light of my very mediocre dinner, I consulted a more seasoned veteran of the Ankara dining scene to find out where I went wrong with my selections.  He made a few suggestions for a future visit.  My friend recommended the kaygana, which is an omelet with anchovies, as well as the kuymak, which is a combination of fondue and polenta.  Watch this space for an update.

Göksu has two locations in Ankara: I tried the one on Bayındır Sk. in Kızılay (Google Maps), but there is another branch on Nenehatun Cad. in Gaziosmanpaşa.  The prices are average: mezes and salads cost around 7TL ($4.75 at 1.47TL/$) and entrées range between 12 and 23TL ($8.15 to $15.50).   Alcohol is served, and rakı is certainly recommended with any meal.