Mmm… Enfes is So Good it Warranted a 2nd Visit
I missed out on Mmm… Enfes the last couple of years when it spawned up out of the Bryant Park Holiday Market. When we got word from a loyal Twitter follower of their brick & mortar operation starting up on 39th, Brownie gave it a drop-in to share the good news. Limited in the Turkish pastry offerings from the otherwise wonderful Lezzette next to my office and Troy Turkish Grill a few blocks up 9th, the clinical term for getting a chance to review Mmm… Enfes’ Homer Simpson-named offerings is known commonly as “psyched as hell.” Last week Brownie gave us the details on their dolmas, lentil soup, lentil balls, and a big ol’ spread of gozleme, but I wanted to bulk up on burek. Let’s go see what we can gobble at this new Turkish outpost.
Brownie’s post mentions the dueling businesses in the same space. Don’t be dissuaded by the offering of kati rolls and think that you accidentally wandered across the street – the Turkish chow awaits!
The front rack has the main gozleme offerings and a sandwich that consists of hot dogs, pickles, and cheese. This strikes me as something you’d want between bars or if you really wanted a spicy cheese dog and nobody around would sell you one.
The front case has yet more options, and most of the gul borek. Sadly, there’s no relation to gul Dukat to be had on the latter.
Words of wisdom from the chalkboard. There’s tons of well-wishers having signed off on Mmm… Enfes already. It helps to have a good following before you open!
I got myself a squash gul borek and spinach/cheese borek for the review, left and right respectively.
The borek is pretty intricately layered. Plus it has a really nice panini char on it, always a good touch. The crunch of the very outer layers of dough doesn’t compromise the rest of the outer dough, though, and it’s nice and yielding to the bite. You don’t have to worry about a spinachsplosion; it all stays together really well. While Nick’s Place’s spanakopita are among my favorites in the spinach-and-feta-pastry realm, the only reason I’d go back to Nick’s is because they’re closer to me. This is one hell of an amazing spinach and feta savory pastry, balanced with a nice big spinachy flavor and enough feta cheese to make things interesting. It’s damn well balanced. For $3.50 it’s a good sized chunk, reasonably priced for what you get.
The gul borek, though, is really really good. It uses zucchini squash and throws in scallions, spinach, and fresh dill. You do get a balanced vegetarian option, and I don’t know how it stays together so well without any kind of binding ingredient. I don’t THINK it had egg in it, but I am not a militant vegan so I didn’t bother asking when I bought it. $5.50 for that one, and I’d get it again in a heartbeat.
Those two together came in at $9.80 after tax, the epitome of a Midtown Lunch. It’s filling, too – that spinach is DENSELY packed in there. This is not some baby spinach microgreen spring mix crap, no sirree – it’s a primary ingredient. After a massive Super Bowl party the night before, a lower-meat option made me feel a little less terrible. It’s worth a visit for sure.
The + (What the Young Turks would say):
- Finally, a fresh take on Turkish that isn’t just doner kebab and then some!
- Really amazingly well-prepared savory pastries.
- Awesome, no more waiting for the Bryant Park Holiday Market!
The – (What the Nick’s Place loyalists would say):
- You want $3.50 for a three-inch square? Kinda pricey.
- This is an okay lunch, but I don’t feel all that stuffed…
Mmm… Enfes, 70 West 39th St. (Between 6th and 5th)