I have been eating a lot of Turkish food lately when I'm stuck at the office late. I seem to go through these phases where I consistently order from restaurants serving a certain cuisine. There were weeks where almost everything I ordered was Thai. Now it's Turkish. But Turkish food is healthy and delicious, so no complaints from me!
This time, I ordered from a new(ish) place near the office called Antalia (on 45th between 5th and 6th). It's really similar to Akdeniz, my neighborhood go-to Turkish place, in so many ways, from the company they use for receipts to their estimated delivery time on Seamless to their distance from the office. When it comes to the food, there is a lot of overlap, but I've been enjoying trying some of the differences.
Mercimek kofte. I saw this on the Antalia menu and didn't remember seeing this on the Akdeniz menu. The title included in parentheses "red lentil patties." I pictured veggie patties or something like the Thai fish cake, even though it was on the cold appetizer list. I thought maybe it was cooked/fried and then just served cool. Antalia describes mercimek kofte as "boiled lentils combined with hot pepper salsa (mild), scallions and parsley served with romaine lettuce." Despite the hot/mild confusion (although I guess it kind of makes sense - it's "hot" but not too hot), it sounded good to me.
I was so pleasantly surprised by these and they were my favorite part of my dinner! Instead of chewier patties like I was expecting, it was like eating mashed potatoes with excellent seasoning. The texture of the lentils was so smooth that it was like mashed potatoes (which I love). Add in the scallions and the parsley to the spices and I was thrilled with my choice.
The appetizer comes with several "patties" on top of a bed of romaine lettuce. Sometimes in appetizers I ignore the lettuce, but I ate all of it here. The crunch of the romaine lettuce was the perfect complement to the smooth softness of the lentils. It reminded me of wrapping up the potato salad at Kodama, a Japanese place in our neighborhood, in the lettuce when we got to the bottom of the plate. Crunchy outside with soft deliciousness inside. That textural combination just works. (Either that or my brain interprets it as a lettuce taco.)
I would definitely get this again. I'm never that excited about staying late to work (who is?), but at least I know I can get delicious Turkish food!