As soon as the threshold is crossed into Hazar Turkish Kabab, there is an instantaneous recognition of the delicious meal that is soon to be had. Tables are filled with groups of friends and families, sharing plates of meat and meze, tearing off chunks of the wonderful homemade bread. On a stretch of 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge that has many Middle Eastern restaurants, this Turkish joint is definitely one of the most popular.
There is nothing lazy about ordering the large mixed appetizer ($13.95, below) on a first visit. In fact, it would probably be at any table I sat down to in the future at this restaurant. Flanked by two grape leaves, the plate consists of (clockwise from upper left) sauteed giant beans, cacik, spicy salad, sauteed eggplant, babaghanoush, and hummus, the full complement of what the restaurant offers for cold appetizers.
The hummus is especially mouth-watering, but each of the seven items is well above average. The "giant beans" or pilaki, or the spicy salad of tomatoes, peppers, and walnuts both mix so well into the yogurt and cucumber cacik between them.
It was certainly overkill for two people to have both combo platters, but the mix grill ($19.95, below) arrived anyways in all its glory. This plate has six meats, a mountain of lamb, beef, and chicken prepared in different ways. Hiding underneath the larger chunks are the lamb and chicken gyro meats from the beautiful spits at the front of the restaurant. Dropping into the place for a quick sandwich from one of these is just as recommended as sitting down.
Things are so good here I came back to cater New Year's Eve with their kebabs.