Devotees of Iron Chef are well familiar with the aphorism attributed to French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin: “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” While your dining partners likely have an idea of what you are, there are scenarios in which you are required to dine in the presence of those you did not select, such as a workplace environment.
This dynamic has been demonstrated on several occasions by Seinfeld protagonist George Costanza. In one case, Costanza failed in an attempt to give himself the moniker of “T-Bone” by audaciously ordering a T-Bone steak for a company luncheon. In another episode, his moment of l’esprit d’escalier (staircase wit) gave rise to the retail concept known as “the jerk store” after he was derided by a coworker for his rapid consumption of shrimp cocktail.
In an effort to continue to maintain separate social and professional spheres, I have gone to great lengths to nourish the legend of my already enigmatic office persona. When the office opted to order from Antalia Mediterranean Turkish Restaurant (17 West 45th Street, 212-221-3333), I opted for the most ostentatious item available, the Alabalik, a whole char-grilled brook trout.
The Alabalik arrived in a foil tray, head and tail intact and completely deboned, allowing for a graceful and orderly dining experience. The top half of the fish had a pleasant crisped skin, concealing the firm, smoothly textured meat below. The flesh had a light, clean flavor that spoke to the quality of the ingredient. As with all fish dishes, the skin that contacted the tray absorbed all the moisture, yet it still maintained a satisfying firmness. The trout was served with a fresh mixed salad featuring arugula and a substantial quantity of carrot strands tossed with a refreshing citrus dressing.
A nice complement to the trout was the Mercimek Kofte (red lentil patties). Though a bit misleading in the context of the common understanding of what patties are, the dense, mildly spicy parsley- and scallion- laden patties had a polenta-meets-playdough malleability.
The hummus had a pleasant garlic tinge and a light whipped consistency. It paired well with the crunchily crusted pillowy bread that was provided in ample proportion.
The Morning After: The act of not completing a meal is symptomatic of an individual of weak constitution. Additionally, office refrigerators are notorious for acts of neglect and for outright disappearance. Neither are fitting outcomes for the aforementioned foodstuffs.
Repeatability: There are few places from which to have a whole deboned fish delivered from, and it is comforting to know that not only does Antalia offer this indulgence, it executes the offering admirably.
Establishment: Antalia Mediterranean Turkish Restaurant, 17 West 45th Street, (212) 221-3333
Hours/Limitations: $12 delivery minimum
Delivery Estimate: 15 to 30 minutes
Delivery Time: 34:30 minutes
Distance: 1.0 miles; 8 minutes
Ordered at 11:33AM, Light Rain
*Time is measured from confirmation page to entry to office suite.
**Distance and time estimate is based on biking via Google Maps.