The red sign goes up, and the “el” falls off “Falafel.”
Let me offer a belated ode to Turkish stalwart Yatagan — a fixture near the corner of MacDougal and Bleecker for nearly two decades. It shuttered in May, to be replaced by a new place with the discouraging name of Turkish Delish, which promises to be “Manhattan’s Cleanest Restaurant.” An absurd boast, given the decrepit nature of the real estate.
The twirling cylinder of doner kebab in the window was a Village fixture.
Yatagan was famous for its cheap doner kebabs — pita sandwiches overstuffed with meat sliced from a turning vertical lamb rotisserie, much like shawarma or gyro, only the composed meat was more finely textured and fragrant with herbs and sheep fat. Man, you could smell it wafting down the street, guaranteeing salivation as you passed the storefront. Plain tart yogurt and hot harissa were the toppings, along with plenty of lettuce, tomato, and raw onions. We’ll be waiting to see if Turkish Delish’s doner is half as good or half as generous.
Meanwhile, the butcher paper has gone up in the windows of Claude’s Patisserie, making the locals wonder if they will ever again taste Claude’s perfect pan au chocolat again. Yes, there’s a small sign that promises the ancient croissant shop will return after a three-week vacation, but the paper is somewhat worrisome …
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 26, 2011