293 7th Ave
City: Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 832-3400
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: Mediterranean
Area: Park Slope
Park Slope is a busy neighborhood with tons of new restaurants. Istanbul Park is among them and while it's not unusual in either decor or food, it offers more than decent eats with service marked by exceptional sweetness.
Take out is a big part of what makes this place tick but plenty of diners eat in amidst the dark pink walls with photographs of Istanbul and other Mediterranean spots. The small mixed appetizer plate is generous with dollops of hummus, babaganoush, stuffed grape leaves, tangy yogurt and a portion of a spinach dip that isn't typically offered but is delicious. The bread, pide, is warm, flaky and for me a pleasant change from the often-flat and cold pita Turkish restaurants serve--others may not agree.
An order of the lamb kebab came with a heap of mixed salad and large serving of rice, the lamb reasonably tender and very well-seasoned--the overall plate a bargain. The Mediterranean salad has the usual suspects--tomatoes, cucumbers, red cabbage, feta cheese--and--surprise--corn, a vegetable that's not exactly a Med item but hey.
Everyone raves about the falafel and rightly so because it's not oily. There's a pleasant vegetarian casserole with zucchini, tomatoes, red and green peppers and more and the usual sandwiches, some described as "wrap"; others wrap, "homemade" which is a little puzzling. Besides the lamb shish kebab which I prefer because I like the lamb in pieces instead of ground, you could order the Sultan's Delight which stopped me because of the addition of heavy cream although the meat is not floating in the stuff.
Wine is a $5 bargain--not from a fancy vintner but perfectly drinkable with various reds and whites available. Five dollars for a generous pour is unbelievably inexpensive in these days of the $12 and up glass.
Along with the check came a little bag with goodies--a bunch of handiwipes in envelopes sporting the restaurant name and logo, a plastic container of mixed nuts and another housing dried fruit and several pieces of outstanding baklava--moist and delicious cut into two-bite bits. The rice pudding looked good but I'd eaten my fill and more.
Istanbul Park is open daily from 10:30 am to 11 pm, accepts major credit cards and is wheelchair friendly. It's not a knock-your-socks off spot but does deliver fresh Mediterranean food in a pleasant setting. I'd go back.
Review By: Mari Gold