A taste of Turkey comes to East Hartsdale Avenue By LINDA LEAVITT
The latest addition to the thriving Hartsdale restaurant scene is Bosphorus, a Turkish restaurant with a Russian accent, that opened in mid-September on the site of the former Cheesery on East Hartsdale Avenue. Some of the Mediterranean specialties, like hummus, baba ganoush, falafel and spanikopita are familiar to the well-traveled diners of Westchester; cheef Yusef Alptekin puts a fresh new spin on these old standbys.
Other dishes, like Siberian palmeni, mucver (zucchini pancakes) and a spicy salad called ezme, are less well known but destined to become favorites.
The owners, Alexander Goldansky and Necedt Kasimoglu, met in an English as a Second Language class given by Berlitz in White Plains. Goldansky earned his M.B.A. from Moscow University and owned a real estate company and small restaurant, called Four Rooms, in Russia before coming to the United States two years ago.
He lives with his wife and three children in Larchmont; his parents live in Brooklyn. Though he had traveled to Turkey as a Russian tourist, he never expected to own a Turkish restaurant in the United States. “It is a big surprise for me,” he said with a grin, but one he embraces enthusiastically.
Kasimoglu was born in Bulgaria and later moved with his family to Istanbul.
He was the manager of Turquoise, a Turkish restaurant in Larchmont, for several years before deciding to team up with Goldansky. Kasimoglu said he came to the United States “like everyone else, to be successful.” He feels at home in a country where, he feels “everybody is treated the same” – no special connections or bribes necessary.
Goldansky noted with pride that he and his partner designed the restaurant themselves. It has colorful ceiling panels and handpainted columns and a huge dark wood bar. Goldansky and Kasimoglu plan to make use of the spacious interior to present a variety of entertainment.
Every Friday evening a belly dancer performs, there’s live music on Sunday and plans are in the works to bring in a balloon artist to entertain children.
As often happens in the restaurant business, Bosphorus was not quite prepared for the surge of customers when it opened. “At first we had a problem with slow service,” Goldansky said. “We didn’t expect a lot of customers.” But they hired an additional chef and a professional waiter, sought feedback from customers, and “now everything is OK.” He’s excited about a new service for commuters, filling orders tex-ted from the train that will be ready for pickup when they arrive in Hartsdale. Bosphorus also delivers to addresses in Hartsdale and Scarsdale.
Asked if any favorites have emerged, Goldansky mentioned mousaki, be-gadzi and imam bayiloi. Bosphorus is a vegetarian paradise, but there’s plenty on the menu to entice fish lovers and carnivores, from bronzino to chicken kebabs to lamb specialties. Adventurous oenophiles will want to try Turkish wines, the white cankaya or the red yakut, which resembles pi-not noir.