Location: 76 Middle Neck Rd. Great Neck, NY 11021
Description: The relocated restaurant is airy, with white cutout leather seats and a revolving chandelier over ... More »
The name suggests shimmering waters, and this restaurant is devoted to seafood, carefully and simply prepared. After a course or two, you're hooked.
This must be one of the brighter dining rooms along Middle Neck Road. The decor is awash with enough white to suggest one of those photos on a calendar promoting Greece.
But Turquoise owes less to the Aegean than it does to the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean. The style is as sleek and modern as the cooking is homey and traditional.
Enjoy the house-made herbaceous green tahini, a sesame spread sparked with lemon and garlic; tzatziki, the yogurt dip here accented with dill and mint; and the especially good baba ghanoush, made with charcoal-grilled eggplant, ground sesame and olive oil.
They're ideal with the fried zucchini or potato chips, and are just as tasty with the crisp, fried calamari. The squid comes with your basic marinara sauce. An order of fried garlic lifts everything.
Turquoise prepares refreshing and appetizing salads, worth sampling as openers or middle courses. The eti salad brings in diced tomatoes, red onion and cilantro, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice; the Israeli salad adds cucumber, onions, dill and parsley. Throw in green bell peppers and you have the Mediterranean salad.
Skippable: baked clams, which materialize pasty and bland; and the dull portobello-mushroom salad.
Turquoise stars with whole fish, either grilled or fried. A plate of fried red mullets, which have a mildly marine flavor, is excellent, crunchy outside and almost translucent within. Grilled striped bass rivals it with a slightly smoky, delicate result.
The ever-present branzino arrives either grilled or fried, respectable and generous but anonymous both ways. Tuna shows up in its most popular guise outside the can, with a sesame crust. Turquoise finishes it with teriyaki sauce, which takes away more than it delivers.
Two varieties of tilapia, black or red St. Peter's fish, expand the catch. Better than these, however, are the broiled and buttery dry sea scallops and the filet of flounder, broiled or fried.
The grilled Australian lamb chops are ample and tender, in case you've had about enough of the sea.
A multilayered, crepes-and-cream cake heads the desserts. The tiramisu also is recommended, for an Italianate side trip as Turquoise expands its map.