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Archive for February 14th, 2008

Mangal indoor charcoal grill

When Jon and I first started dating, we’d go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, despite generally blah experiences. We finally had it and swore “never again” when, one year, we went to our local divey Thai place in New York and discovered that instead of enjoying the comforts of cheap pad thai, we could order only a “Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe menu.” Basically, I can’t handle how a perfectly yummy, reasonably-priced, well-serviced restaurant suddenly transforms on V-Day into a mediocre, expensive, poorly-served one. Just say no!

One place that’s likely to stay true to its divey self, Valentine’s Day or not, is Mangal Ocakbasi Restaurant. It’s a Turkish grill restaurant (an ocakbasi, in fact) in scruffy Dalston, and in the fine tradition of divey restos in scruffy neighborhoods, it’s BYOB with no corkage charge.

Mangal Ocakbasi meat counter

When you walk in, you’re faced with a counter of meat – lamb chops, kofte, kebabs – and instead of sitting down and ordering from a menu, you pick what you want from the counter and then you sit at a table while your meats of choice are grilled on an enormous charcoal grill (thank goodness for powerful hoods over the grill or else the smoke would be unbelievable). (more…)

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