Hizir Baba

This issue’s culinary adventure takes us back to the Peconic River, a rather lovely spot to spend time, especially with better weather on the way. To find our latest venue, make a turn into the alley next to the Salvation Army Thrift Shop on Main Street in Riverhead, just west of the Aquarium. Park at the end of the alley; Hizir Baba is the last building facing the river.

The cuisine is Turkish, the ambiance is simple and the food is good. First thing to know, they do not have a liquor license so if you wish to indulge, BYO is the order of the day. They do have canned soda, bottled water and iced tea. Also, being a rather small building near the river, all of their service items are disposable.

On our first visit, we shared an appetizer of stuffed grape leaves which rated among the best that we had ever tasted. For entrees, we sampled the Adana Kabab (minced lamb with fresh herbs that is formed into a long patty and grilled) and a Mixed Kabab which included the aforementioned Adana, marinated lamb and chicken Kabab chunks and Kofte (grilled seasoned ground beef patty). This is served with either rice pilaf or (my recommendation) bulgar. All were grilled to perfection, moist and flavorful. Dinner entrees are served with a salad dressed in a simple lemon and oil dressing and the most wonderful warm Turkish bread. At another visit we sampled the Karisik Soguk Meze mixed appetizer which included humus, Kisir (Turkish taboule), Piyaz (white beans with chopped onion and parsley in a flavorful dressing), Babagannus (pureed eggplant, tahini, garlic and lemon) and Ezme (a mixture of spicy finely chopped vegetables). The gyro and the falafel, available as either an entrée or a wrap, were both wonderful. My favorite, however, is the Sucuklu Pie (Turkish cheese wrapped in dough, topped with Turkish sausage slices and baked). Absolutely addicting! A perfect ending to your meal might be a piece of Turkish Baklava (made with ground pistachios) and, if you’re daring, a cup of Turkish coffee.

Hizir Baba is open every day for late Turkish breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner. There are tables outside well suited for al fresco dining in the warmer weather, and its location makes for a perfect evening of dinner and a stroll along the scenic Peconic. You can preview their menu on line at www.hizirbaba.com. This is another hidden gem that adds to the allure of Riverhead. It might be fun to try something a bit out of the ordinary, but that’s just One Man’s Opinion.

Hizir Baba, 40 McDermott Ave, Riverhead NY; (631)591-3067

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