Baklava is a bit like that little girl who had a little curl: when it’s good, it’s very, very good. When it’s bad, it’s horrid. In the latter category lurks the kind of sickly-sweet pastry whose layers of phyllo dough are made flaccid by too much syrup and tasting of nothing but sugar. And in the former category, there’s the baklava at Güllüoglu.
Güllüoglu, which has outposts in Midtown and on Coney Island Avenue, is a baklava wonderland. Walk into the location at 52nd Street and Second Avenue and you’re confronted by rows upon rows of the pastry, baked into several varieties and beckoning wantonly from behind a wide glass display case. The assortment presents an ingeniously customizable Fat Pants Friday: you can choose as few or as many as you desire (they’re priced by the pound), so it’s possible to practice puritanical restraint or to completely incapacitate yourself.
On this Fat Pants Friday, we’ve opted for a happy medium, with one each of cherry, chestnut, and double pistachio. Altogether, the three cost about $5. All boast crispy, crackly layers of phyllo that weep honey without being weighed down by it, and taste faintly of good butter. The fruit in the cherry baklava provides a satisfyingly juicy counterpoint to its flaky shell, while the chestnut has a mellow, creamy sweetness. The double pistachio is the star of the bunch, jammed full with bright green nuts and resting on a wonderfully gooey foundation.
Eaten together, the three rate a pair of relaxed-fit jeans on the Fat Pants scale. But again, depending on the kind of week you’ve had, it’s easy to plunge head-long into burlap-and-rope territory. Either way, they provide an excellent way to ride high into the weekend.
982 Second Avenue