Hanci Turkish Cuisine, New York City
Hanci Turkish Cuisine
Updated 2/2/10 – Hanci Turkish Cuisine is no longer a BYO. It now offers a limited wine/beer list. There is a corkage fee of $10/bottle if you bring your own wine.
I’m always looking for good BYO restaurants in the city, after being spoiled with the huge number of BYO options in NJ. I read about Hanci Turkish Cuisine, a BYO right in our neighborhood, so one Friday night Josh and I decided to give it a shot. The restaurant is small but the bright lighting and simple décor make it seem much larger and more airy. Even though tables are close together, I didn’t feel cramped.
The restaurant wasn’t full so they graciously let us sit at a four-top instead of a table for two, which turned out well because we ended up with a ton of food on the table. We started off sharing the mixed appetizer plate, which came with a taste of most of the cold appetizers and dips on the menu, including hummus, ezme (chopped tomatoes, spices, green peppers, onions, olive oil, and lemon), patlican salad (like baba ghanoush), tarama (red caviar spread), zeytinyagli pirasa (leeks and carrots cooked in olive oil), and haydari (thick yogurt with walnuts, garlic, and dill). There is both a small and large option, so we asked our waitress what she recommended. She told us quite honestly that there wasn’t a huge difference between the small and large sizes, so we were better off ordering the small and saving a few dollars. I was surprised that she was so frank about it and didn’t try to up-sell us, which raised my impression of the restaurant immediately.
The dips and spreads were all very unique, and really tasty. My favorites were the patlican salad, ezme, and haydari. There was a ton of food on the platter, and we definitely did not need the large portion. We ended up keeping the platter on the table even as we moved on to our main courses, so that we could keep dipping into it with the fabulous warm Turkish bread they brought us. I’m drooling just thinking about this bread, which was puffy, kind of like focaccia, but light and crispy on the outside. It was similar to the bread that we’ve had at Afghan restaurants, but it was hot and fresh and completely addictive. I asked for a bread basket refill twice, and a new full basket was brought out to us each time. It was really that good!