Newcomer Turkiss is nearing completion, with a brilliant tile interior and an extensive doner station.
For nearly two decades, Yatagan was the cheap-eats capital of Greenwich Village. Fork in the Road wrote a paean to it in 2008, and even by then it had shown up on several Village Voice Best Of lists over the years.
The specialty of the house was a $5.50 pita sandwich stuffed with more doner kebab (the humongous cylinder of grease-dripping herbed and composed meat that twirled in the window) than the pita could well hold, leading the whole sandwich to rupture and spill its meat, vegetable matter, yogurt, and hot chili paste all over the foil. And you really wouldn’t care, because it was so good.
Sure there was falafel, other kebabs, and eggplant dishes galore, but it was the doner kebab that always brought us back to Yatagan.
When it closed nearly a year ago, we wondered what would replace it in the hurly-burly of the MacDougal Street restaurant scene, which includes 19 restaurants on the block Yatagan occupied, between Bleecker and West 3rd streets. Fork in the Road reported that a restaurant named Turkish Delish had put up a sign, touting itself as “Manhattan’s Cleanest Restaurant,” and taunting us with a menu that included a broader range of Turkic specialties than Yatagan offered, including manti (giant lamb dumplings), and chicken doner kebab, in addition to the usual lamb.
That sign is gone, and work has been proceeding behind barricades. Now the wood is down, and a new facade has been revealed — with the equally awful name of Turkiss. Oh, well. The interior does indeed look like Manhattan’s cleanest restaurant, with gleaming tiles throughout, a long counter, and a bank of doner installations.
Anyway, here’s the Facebook page that’s already up. We’ll be reporting on the opening; stay tuned.
The doner kebab at Yatagan was once irresistible.