For fans of Mediterranean cuisine, Turkuaz Grill (40 McDermott Avenue, Riverhead) is an easy pick. The family-run restaurant offers up authentic Turkish dishes in a casual setting on the waterfront in Riverhead.
Owner Mustafa Gulsen, who grew up in Turkey, discussed the five most popular items on the Turkuaz menu, and lamb is clearly the name of the game.
Doner kebab (lamb gyro)
“It’s traditional Turkish,” said Gulsen of the most popular item on the entire menu. The lamb gyro is thinly sliced and marinated on a vertical rotating skewer.
Chicken shish kebab
The chicken kebab has chunks of chicken and is served on skewers.
The ground lamb is marinated with red bell peppers. For a spicier ground lamb dish, Gulsen recommends the beyti kebab.
Kofte kebab (lamb meatball)
These Turkish meatballs are made of ground lamb and char-grilled.
“I will never get tired of eating lamb chops,” said Gulsen. “Same thing with the meatball and the gyro.”
“Sometimes people think it’s espresso,” Gulsen said. This strong blend isn’t made with milk and guests have to let the kitchen know if they want any sweetener because it can’t be stirred after brewing. “It’s got a different taste to it.” While this is a popular item, Gulsen recommends ordering it earlier in the day because it’s strong.