Mezzaluna

Palmarina Yalıkavak, TK, 48990 +90 252 385 4292 • mezzaluna.com.tr
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I know it seems absolutely dreadful that I went all the way to Turkey to eat at a place I could have also dined at back home in New York, but we were in the Marina craving Italian and we weren’t about to throw down our life savings to eat at Cipriani (which I could also have in NY- just sayin’) , nor was it an option to sit anywhere near those obnoxious squawking parrots and macaws. So, that left us with Mezzaluna, which isn’t exactly the coolest place in the Marina, but that didn’t seem to be hurting their business any, because the place was packed. I recommend going on the earlier side if you want to sit on the roof and have the better view.

But the fact that they were so packed only made it that much more surprising how good the service was. Our waiter was friendly, calm, attentive and accommodating. I know this sounds rather basic, but to draw more attention as to just how accommodating, he moved our table to an area were there were no tables, just to shield us from all of the kids at nearby tables, since it was just wifey and I. Then, when the mosquitoes started to attack, he fetched us bug spray. And when my wife got cold, he cuddled with her. KIDDING. I was just seeing if you were paying attention.

As for the food, the panzanela salad was a bit of a miss. Pretty basic and not all that flavorful. Whereas both the pizza and the rigatoni proved to be pretty damn skippy for Turktalian. Perhaps that’s the upside of having roots back in good ole NYC.

The rigatoni is Sicilian style with beef tenderloin and eggplant in a nice red sauce that is only made nicer by the addition of chili oil- so be sure to ask for some. And the pizza was the Salsiccia. Part veal sausage, part green peppers and caramelized onion, and 100% all right, all right (to be read like Matthew McConaughey).

So nothing epic, to be fair, but it held its own against the likes of Vespa, which is the only other pizza place I trust in the Bodrum area. And our server really did go above and beyond, pulling in one extra knife for Mezzaluna all by his big, bad self.

3 teeth

Kabuk

Merkez Mh., Tilkicik Cd., 48990 Bodrum, Turkey • +90 252 385 5431 • kabukrestaurant.com

ahtapot-yahni

Having read a glowing article about Kabuk, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to try something new, away from the scene (and the squawking parrots) that has become the Yalikavak Marina. And I have to say, box checked. The setting is tastefully done, set back from the waterfront, but still overlooking the sea with a beautiful trellis and strung lights overhead.

The attention to detail doesn’t stop there either with their starfish embroidered table linens, solid wine list and inventive cocktails such as their frozen, blended-to-order peach belini and an “interesting” wasabi martini made with Russian Standard and complete with a strip of seaweed floating on the surface.

Come the food, they start by offering up what appears to be an amuse bouche (more on this later) of grilled jumbo shrimp and a basket of bread with a wonderful herbed dipping oil. Not only does it make the bread sing, it makes the shrimp dance as well.

After that came the Kabuk salad made light and refreshing with the addition of fresh chunks of peach. Definitely recommend this as it is the only solace from shellfish on menu, between the bread and dessert.

As for the shellfish options, while extremely pricey, I also thought they were very good for being non-Turkish preparations. The tagliatelle with langoustines was nailed- granted the plural billing of this dish is a bit of an over-promise because there was only half of one langoustine. But at least it was perfectly cooked with a killer kickin’ red sauce.

So Italian done, but what about Spanish? Well, I’ve definitely had better paella’s but I’ve also had worse. And I hate to say it, but Kabuk topped the master himself, Thomas Keller, because the paella at Ad Hoc was pathetic. I also like the presentation, served in a paella pan (of course), but over an open flame with a giant wooden rice spoon.

For the grand finale, the pumpkin sorbet presentation is insane! Served as a flaming sorbet mountain, they carve each portion off of the summit for your amusement. And while all of this pomp and circumstance seems like it might’ve been with the agenda of distraction, the sorbet was actually pretty darn good.

Riding high now on the four knife express, suddenly things went off the rails. The check came. And while we knew the place was pricey (hell, the crab legs on the menu were 780 TL!!! That’s $275 US!!! ), the bill seemed a bit higher than our order, drawing attention back to the “amuse bouche,” which was ringing in at a whopping $9 per shrimp! Now, I’m not exactly one to wince at paying through the nose for food, after all, I’m used to dropping coin at Keller, Barber and Boulud restaurants, but when you present something as if it’s courtesy of the chef, you are misrepresenting things if you then intend to charge for it. Plus, to charge that kind of price for overcooked, under-seasoned shrimp that only tasted worthy with the help of the herbed oil (intended for the bread), then you’ve got some serious balls.

But not only did Kabuk go sleazy on this move, they doubled down on the sleaze when we brought it up to the manager, who made us feel like we were being cheapskates as opposed to taking any ownership in the miscommunication. So much for “the customer is always right.” And so much for four knives, because that definitely cost them one. It will also cost me ever going there again. Or recommending that you should ever go there either. However. to sandbag Kabuk with one or two knives is a bridge too far. I’d be pulling the amateur shit I hate so much about Yelp reviewers, so I refuse go there. I enjoyed the meal. Just not the ending. Sort of like the movie Heat, in restaurant form. So three knives it is… but with a ginormous asterisk.

3 teeth