When you’ve enjoyed a meal at a restaurant, it’s tempting to order the same dishes the next time you dine there. In fact, I recently returned to Bosphorus Cafe Grill in Port Washington for the express purpose of reliving such happy memories as the startling puffy lavas bread and the crispy-gooey-nutty-aromatic kunefe dessert. But in between those two dishes were some new ones.
In addition to the gratis, house-made pide bread and the aforementioned lavas, we got the kitchen’s last simit, a ring-shaped, sesame-seeded bread popular in Turkey and the Middle East. Simit is sometimes referred to as a Turkish bagel but, whereas a bagel is boiled before being baked, simit is just baked. Here’s something I didn’t know: The unbaked simit ring is dipped in grape molasses so that the sesame seeds will better adhere to its surface. At Bosphorus, the simit is served with tahin pekmz, a spread made from tahini (sesame paste) and pekmez (grape molasses). Tahin pekmez, I think, has a bright future as an exotic, one-shot substitute for peanut butter and jelly.
We also enjoyed tiny meat-filled dumplings (manti) and the canoe-shaped, lamb-and-cheese-filled flat bread called kavurmali pide.
We barely had room for the kunefe, shredded wheat pastry enclosing melted cheese and topped with chopped pistachios and aromatic syrup, which was as good as I remembered it.
Bosphorus Cafe Grill is at 138 Shore Rd., Port Washington, 516-321-9999.