Hours: Dinner: Sunday, Tuesday-Saturday
Open Late: Saturday till 3; Friday till 2; Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday till midnight
Turkish restaurant and lounge in the old Bella Lounge space.
Looking for a quiet place to dine? On my weeknight visit in mid-January, three-month-old Sortie Restaurant and Lounge was empty. The waiter said it filled up on weekends, when the huge room with two bars and a dining area featuring high-backed booths, white-clothed tables, and jewel-toned hanging lanterns turns into a private lounge (anyone is welcome, he assured us) after the kitchen closes at 9 PM; however, a swing-by at 11 PM on a Saturday revealed no crowds. On the upside, being able to hear the Turkish background music while dining was a pleasure, and the new chef--who'd arrived from Turkey just three weeks earlier--has talent. Since we were told he was revising the menu, we forgave the many discrepancies between the eight items on the "mix appetizer" and the six we got in individual hollowed-out yellow squash and cucumber cups; they included good eggplant salad, thick yogurt with vegetables and mint, and mercimek kofte, cold lentils often served shaped into "fingers." The lahmacun, a Turkish variation on thin-crust pizza topped with minced lamb, peppers, and tomato, was first-rate, though it was cut into American-style wedges, making it impossible to roll or fold it around greens and onions with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of sumac like the Turks do; anyway, we didn't get any onions or sumac. The mixed grill provided a sampling of decent lamb and chicken kebabs, comparatively mild adana kebab (chopped, seasoned lamb and beef), tasty lamb-and-beef doner (like gyros), and a small lamb chop plus rice, grilled tomato and peppers, and fancy-cut baby vegetables. Fingernail-size manti got high marks for delicacy, but the yogurt cooled the beef-stuffed dumplings too quickly and needed more, hotter butter drizzled around it, as well as the tomato sauce listed on the menu, which was missing. Creamy rice pudding with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream was a fine dessert, but the Turkish coffee was muddy. No vintages were listed on the mostly American wine list with adequate by-the-glass options. Turkish beer and raki (anise-flavored aperitif) were available, but no Turkish wines.
Payment Type: Discover, MasterCard, Visa