Our First Taste of the Mmm…Enfes New Storefront
Last week we brought you the news that the popular Turkish food Bryant Park (and Columbus Circle) holiday market kiosk Mmm…Enfes had opened a brick and mortar on 39th street. Over the years I’ve had a chance to sample a few of Mmm…Enfes’ specialties like their buttery gözleme. With the storefront they’ve had the opportunity to expand their menu so naturally I was eager to check it out.
The first thing that caught my eye was the simit, which the owner explained was a very popular Turkish breakfast bread that’s similar to a bagel in that it’s round, bready (though less dense than an bagel in my opinion), and covered with sesame seeds. At Mmm…Enfes they serve simits toasted for $2 and toasted with some melted cheese inside for $3. Naturally I opted for the cheese and it was one of my favorite new things I tried. The sesame seeds themselves were nicely toasted. It’s not loaded with cheese, but there’s enough there to get the melty cheese vibe.
The red lentil soup, which I first tried at the Columbus Circle Market this winter is another good option. And at $4 you could pair it with a simit and have a good lunch for just $7.
If you have a bigger appetite you might augment the soup and simit with their red lentil balls ($1.50) made with lentil, bulger, scallions and topped with hot sauce. If you’re spicy food adverse definitely skip the hot sauce because it does give it a good kick. I was particularly fond of their dolmas ($1.50), vegetarian stuffed grape leaves which were on the lemony side. They’re longer and skinnier than Greek stuffed grape leaves that I’m familiar with but also quite tasty. I only ordered one, but I could see myself wanting at least two of these just because I enjoyed it so much.
Lastly I tried a couple of their gözleme that I hadn’t had before–their spinach and cheese and chicken mushroom ($6.50 each). My husband was along as my dining companion because I wouldn’t have been able to cover enough ground solo so she cut them into little pieces to share. The picture above has both cut up gözleme on it. The gözleme are kept cold in the case then reheated to order so they come out nice and warm. They’re sort of a buttery Turkish stuffed bread that’s served rolled up like a wrap. If you have a light to moderate appetite, one of these alone could make a suitable lunch. If you tend to need a heavier lunch again I’d recommend the soup or adding on some lentil balls or dolmas. The chicken was minced with bits of mushroom and plenty of dill mixed throughout. I’m a dill person, so I rather liked it, but if I had to choose between the spinach and cheese one and the chicken I’d give the nod to the spinach and cheese. It’s like the filling from an awesome spinach pie served in buttery flakey wrap form. Really good. I would definitely get this again.
Business seems to be off to a good start so far for Mmm…Enfes. They actually share the store front with a juice/smoothie bar in the back that also serves biryani but the two are unrelated businesses. The place is small, there’s just a counter with a few stools, so plan on taking out and I’ve heard that already the lunch lines can stretch out the door, though they move quickly. Most Turkish food in midtown is sit down fare (like the red lentil soup I love from Dervish) so Mmm…Enfes fills a nice niche by offering up a moderately priced to-go alternative. I look forward to making a return visit soon.
Mmm…Enfes 70 West 39th Street , New York, New York 10018