Turkish Restaurant in Rego Park Puts Twist on Traditional Cuisine
QUEENS — Black Sea Fish & Grill, Rego Park's newly opened restaurant, proves that there is more to Turkish food than kebabs and baklava.
Black Sea specializes in Mediterranean-style seafood, serving a variety of fish dishes, including St. Peter's fish, fresh anchovies and sea bass, said Yasin Cabuk, 28, one of the owners.
The restaurant, at 95-36 Queens Blvd., imports some of its fish, including sea bass and royal dorado, from the Mediterranean Sea, Cabuk said.
The rest of the fish, he said, he buys fresh every morning from fishermen in south Brooklyn.
“We don't freeze anything,” he said.
Some of the fish dishes are served as fillets, others are grilled whole. But Cabuk said the secret is always the same: to use the freshest ingredients.
After the fish is grilled, the restaurant's chefs use a homemade sauce, which consists of olive oil, chopped garlic, lemon juice and herbs.
“It’s simple but it gives perfect flavor,” Cabuk said.
The restaurant has different chefs for meat and fish dishes. “These are two totally different things,” Cabuk said. “We prepare meat and fish differently, we use different sauces, we even serve them on different types of plates.”
All fish dishes cost less than $20, and the restaurant organizes live music and belly dancing events every other Friday, he said.
Cabuk said that before opening Black Sea, he, along with his business partner and one of the chefs, worked at Liman Restaurant in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, which serves similar style of Turkish cuisine.
Many of Liman's customers, he said, had been coming all the way to Brooklyn from the Rego Park area.
So he said, they decided to open a restaurant in the neighborhood, after another Turkish restaurant, Istanbul, closed earlier this year.
Cabuk said that among other popular seafood dishes at the restaurant are fresh mussels stuffed with pine nuts, rice and currants, red mullet fish and char grilled octopus salad with red onions and arugula leaves.
Fans of more typical Turkish cuisine will also find chicken and lamb gyros and shish kebabs on the menu, along with stuffed grape leaves and lebne.