My love of middle eastern food (well, all food) is well known and so regular readers will rejoice to learn that a new restaurant, Agora, has opened just a block and a half from the Blarney Abode. It looks set to become a regular hangout, for the design is appealing (naked brick and open floorplan) the staff is charming, and the food is very good: there is no hummus, and the falafel is made with crab. They pride themselves on authentic, but modern and interesting, greek and turkish food. Based on last night’s experience–oh, and the night before’s—you should have the pideler with lamb, the aubergine appetizer that is NOT Iman Bayildi (can’t remember its name), the spinach with pine nuts, and the sheep’s cheese (tulum), but ask for fig jam rather than honey. For dessert, order the one that is not baklava (although my neighbor at the next table had that, and said it was excellent), but the other one is truly divine–I just can’t remember its name. A complimentary glass of Raki from Malia, the General Manager will do that to you. All the dishes are meze size and cost $6-$10. They have a delicious bottle of Malbec for $35. So far (they have been open less than two weeks), they are doing a roaring trade. Now, if I wished to be picky, I would say that the rosemary in the beet salad was a little overpowering (and I love rosemary) and that the the Iman Bayildi would do better at room temperature, rather than straight from the fridge, and needs a little more pep in its step, but these are only niggles. The attentive nature of the young and goodlooking wait staff more than makes up for any shortfalls in the kitchen. Kelvin was my waiter on the first night, and told me the following joke:
“Two sisters go into a bar in Ireland every night and order a drink each. They do this for years, until one sister emigrates to America. Arriving in America, the one sister soon finds a neighborhood bar. She goes in every night and orders two drinks, drinking them both. The barman asks her why she does this and she explains the tradition with her sister, who is doing the same thing at the original bar in Ireland. This goes on for many years, until the night when the sister in the States comes into the bar and orders only one drink. “I’m sorry for your loss” says the barman “Oh no” says the sister “She’s still alive and well, but I’ve become a Baptist and I’ve given up the drink” She drinks her sister’s drink and leaves.”
I feel curiously drawn to this joke and think I will make it a rule to live by. Of course, neither the Cackler nor myself is Baptist.
Check out Agora’s menu here.