Sea Salt Is Closed; Orhan Yegen Blames the NeighborsOrhan Yegen has decided to close Sea Salt, the Turkish seafood restaurant he opened in the East Village last July. “I sold the place to an American,” the chef tells us. “He’s going to make it into a bar.” Yegen blamed the close on neighborhood demographics. “The age of those people, they don’t want to come to my restaurant. The people didn’t like me,” he explains. “They spit on my window. Then the neighbors, they don’t want to give me a license upgrade from beer and wine to full liquor. So now they get a bar.” He’s got another project in mind but declined to discuss the details now. In the meantime, Yegen will keep things running at Sip Sak.
Related: ‘Dog Food!’ ‘Idiots!’ and Other Sweet Nothings From Orhan Yegen
The Orange Line
Riding the V Line: A Turkish Oasis at Sip SakWe’re riding the B and V from Coney Island all the way to Forest Hills, jumping off frequently to rave about our favorite restaurants and food stores near the subway.
This week’s location is 53rd and Lex, the V’s last stop in Manhattan. It’s delis and hotels everywhere you look, and it doesn’t get much better as you head east on 53rd Street. But hang a right on Second Avenue, and pop into Sip Sak, Orhan Yegen’s one-of-a-kind take on Turkish fast food.
‘Dog Food!’ ‘Idiots!’ and Other Sweet Nothings FromOrhan Yegen is known among the city’s food writers for producing two things: great Turkish food and great quotes. He’s like the Charles Barkley of the restaurant world. And his Orhanisms have seldom been on better display than in a Metromix profile out this week. We could have predicted that Orhan would refer to the cuisines of other countries as “dog food” or dismiss all cooking-school instructors as “idiots.” But what a gift he gave Metromix when he picked on poor old Julia Child: “She was not a cook. She was a baker. Thank god she died.”
Kebab Master Takes the UWSWe were tipped off to the month-old Seven’s Mediterranean Grill by Orhan Yegen, the city’s ambassador for Turkish food. As at Yegen’s East Side restaurant, Sip Sak, an array of house-ground, delicately spiced kebabs are complemented by fresh yogurt sauce and freshly baked bread. There’s also a big selection of the Turkish-Armenian spiced pizzas called lahmajoun. Chef and co-owner Aziz Seven has a history in New York kebab circles: His work at Ali Baba on East 34th Street was much admired, and his most recent New York venue, Sunnyside’s Turkish Grill, was a favorite of connoisseurs. Neither place, though, featured Seven’s oven-baked halvah, a must-have dessert of hot sesame pudding topped with toasted walnuts.
Seven’s Turkish Grill, 158 W. 72nd St., nr. Columbus Ave.; 212-724-4700.
Click and Save
Forget ‘Top Chef,’ Here’s What Real Cooking Looks Like
The cooking on Top Chef is, as most chefs will tell you, about as realistic as the medicine practiced on House. But that doesn’t mean you can’t see the real thing if you look hard enough. Consider RealMeals, a brand-new, just-launched website which specializes in videos of both professional and amateur chefs actually cooking. This kind of instructional/aspirational video has been coming into vogue in recent months (Chow has produced a number of really good ones.) But RealMeals is both more interesting and more New York-oriented.
What to Eat Tonight
Spin the Shawarma Wheel
Edible Brooklyn has a piece on a subject very dear to our hearts: Those mysterious wheels of meat called shawarma that you find in falafel and gyro joints around town. The article covers the best of Brooklyn; our picks for outside of Brooklyn follow.