1030 Second Avenue, near 54th Street, 212-421-3004
Orhan Yegen calls his prodigious output “fast-served Turkish food,” which is to say, his luscious moussaka and succulent stuffed cabbage are kept hot in chafing dishes, his braised leeks and red-pepper-tinged bulgur salads cold in refrigerated display cases at the spotless storefront he opened last winter in Turtle Bay. Just as at McDonald’s, you walk up to the counter and place your order, but all similarities end there. Once your hummus has been properly garnished and your lamb shank lovingly arranged on a bed of rice, a waiter ferries it to your copper-topped table—equipped, of course, with real silver and china. The menu changes daily, but there’s always a doner kebab swirling on a spit, a cook folding flaky pastry to make gossamer gozleme, a basket overflowing with pillowy pide bread, and creamy puddings for dessert. Yegen hasn’t quite served a million yet, but judging by the way this convivial byob spot fills up with transplanted Turks and fans of their deeply flavorful food, he’s well on his way. .
Best Fast Food
From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).