Nar, meaning pomegranate in Turkish as well as a symbol for happiness and prosperity, is a new restaurant from partners Andy E. ArkunErhan Bahceci, and Zeynep Tansung. They are combining their expertise in three different facets of the food industry to bring modern Turkish cuisine to New York City. They have assembled a team of Turkish chefs to execute a menu of reimagined regional Turkish dishes using produce sourced from the Union Square Farmers Market, and proteins from Amish Country in Pennsylvania to serve cleanorganichalal- certified food.

Andy E. Arkun is a restaurant industry veteran who began his career in fine dining at The Polo in the Westbury Hotel in 1983, where Chef Daniel Boloud helmed the kitchen and Thomas Keller served as Chef de Partie. He went on to work at La Cote Basque where he gained experience in building the wine list before opening Anatolia Restaurant, which received high praise from New York Magazine’s late Gael Greene as well as a two-star review from Bryan Miller of The New York Times in 1987, for his creative takes on Turkish cuisine.

Erhan Bahceci is Andy’s longtime friend and the owner of the Food Cellar Market and Amish Market chain of supermarkets throughout New York City. He is a self-professed foodie and has traveled the world in search of new cuisines and flavors throughout his journeys. Zeynep Tansug is the General Coordinator of the Izmir Commodity Exchange. She sources all of the spices, oils, aromatic plants and other unique ingredients from Turkey for Nar and collaborated with Erhan to create the restaurant’s menu.

The experience begins with a Meze SamplerBabaganoush, made with eggplant, yogurt, garlic, and tahini; HummusPistachio Dip, made with olive oil, tulum cheese and goat cheese; and Muhammara, made of walnuts, tomato, and pomegranate molasses; followed by cold and hot appetizers.

The cold appetizers highlight: Sundried Eggplant and Pepper Dolma, a re-interpreted peasant dish of eggplant and red bell peppers stuffed with rice, pine nuts, and pomegranate; and a reconstructed Turkish Shakshuka, diced potatoes, zucchini, and eggplant formed into a ring mold topped with house made yogurt and a quenelle of tomato sauce.

Hot appetizers are headlined by the Nar Icli Kofte, a deconstructed kibbeh with minced beef and bulgur wheat mix are stuffed in a semolina shell served over garlic yogurt. Other hot appetizers include: Grilled Iriskit and Hellim Cheese, a beef sausage from Gaziantep, Turkey caramelized with orange juice and maple syrup served over grilled halloumi cheese and tricolor cherry tomatoes; and Zucchini Blossoms, filled with zucchini and two types of Turkish cheese, kashkaval and Izmir tulum, lightly battered and fried.

Nar’s main courses follow suit with: the Nar Kebab, a kebab made of minced beef and lamb combined with pistachio, grilled on a kebab over a natural olive tree charcoal grill, removed from the skewer and plated with maras peppers, smoked yogurt and grilled tomato; and Nar’s signature Quail on Skewer, Urgasa quail seasoned with salt and pepper and wrapped in wine leaves, cooked on a skewer then plated over a cinnamon, currant, pine nut, and cracked wheat pilaf. Not to be missed is the Sultan’s Bliss, lamb shank seared then slow cooked for three hours served with eggplant caviar over white bean purée.

The desserts also showcase dishes that are scarcely found elsewhere in New York City like Kazandibi with Cinnamon Gannage, a traditional caramelized milk pudding from the Ottoman Empire made with chicken breast soaked in milk for two days then shredded and mixed with rice flour, sugar, mastic and milk, and cooked until the bottom is burnt; Cennet Camuru, or “heaven’s mud”, house made vanilla ice cream served over shredded kataifi pastry and pistachio; and a more familiar Turkish Delight Lava Cake, topped with pistachio and Turkish delight, served with vanilla ice cream.

The wine program curated by Andy and Karim El Sherif (Former Wine Director for Daniel Boloud) and focuses on Mediterranean producers from Spain, France, Italy, and Turkey, with a well-selected list of American wines. It will begin with over 100 wines, including 30 selections under $100. Highlights: Côtes D’Avanos Narince Chardonnay and Corvus Cruturk from Turkey.

General Manager Ilia Sejdho (formerly of Miriam, Café DADA) and Bar Manager Alexis Casares (Mister FrenchThe Mercer Kitchen) collaborated to create a beverage program that is cohesive with the cuisine, using all house made juices and syrups. Standout cocktails encompass: Turkish Delight, made with Woodinville bourbon, house made grenadine, lemon juice, Angostura bitters, and house made pistachio orgeat; Raki Mule, Raki, the national drink of Turkey, with fresh lime juice and ginger beer; and The Orient Express, Gin, lime juice, fresh raspberries, simple syrup, brewed Turkish tea and tonic. Also available is a selection of craft beers on tap and by the bottle.

Nar’s interior design evokes the Aegean Sea, using turquoise blue chairs and banquets to accent the walls paneled with white-washed reclaimed wood, giving the restaurant a relaxed feel and whisking guests away to the Turkish coast. The dining room walls are adorned by mirrors and a painting of famed Persian poet and scholar Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi by artist and designer Lia Ali. At the rear of the restaurant is an accent wall filled with wine and Raki.

LOCATION: 34 East 20th Street, New York, NY 10003 


PHONE: 917-388-3195

INSTAGRAM: @narrestaurantnyc