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all photos: Kimberly Cadena

I blame it on my background: having grown up in a country that is not only next door to Italy and Greece, but was also under the Turkish rule for 500 years (granted way before my time, but some of the influences never go away) I have ALWAYS been a massive fan of the Turkish/Mediterranean fusion (such an ugly word) eateries. And while places like Zaytinya are rightfully beloved and popular, AGORA on 17th street , which just celebrated it’s 1 year anniversary should feature prominently on your small plates/delicious wines going out list. Added bonus: no fuss, no lines, no nothing-just delicious food.

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Before we let the photos speak for themselves, I’ll run through some of the highlights of the meal Kimberly and I recently enjoyed there (on occasion of the aforementioned anniversary).

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As at an every good Turkish place, we kicked the night off with some girisler (aka spreads). No one really does spreads quite like Turkish people do: the taramisolata (cured roe) was perfectly light and salty, the htipiti (red roasted peppers, thyme, feta and olive oil) good enough to eat with a big spoon instead of on a small piece of bread and the yogurt and cucumber based cacik was fresh and with a perfect little kick of dill in it.

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Salads are done the way salads should be done: with vegetables as the centerpiece and minimal dressing. We dove into the colorful beets with lemon vinaigrette (when in doubt-ALWAYS have a beet salad) as well as the traditional Kasik which lets the fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers pop in your mouth just lightly seasoned with olive oil and lemon. Perfect for a light summertime lunch with a good glass of white wine.

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Next up, we enjoyed a variety of warm and cold mezes (small plates) all of which were great: from the cheese filled borek cigar (Which is the ultimate Turkish comfort food) to zucchini pancakes so filling some of our co-diners thought they were not vegetarian, we all wanted seconds and could have easily ended the meal here…

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Which would be a shame since the main courses (separated into seafood and meat/poultry categories) are a delight: simply grilled and flavorful, with minimal accoutrement on the plate-we recommend lamb (naturally) and any of the white fish on the menu.

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Close the meal out with Tekirdag (essentially a Turkish absinthe/digestif) and/or a Turkish coffee (reading into your cup-optional) and one of their wonderful desserts, all of which seem to involved apricots, honey, and some of the crunchiest pastry around. Oh, and yes, there IS outdoor seating.

On a scale of pure food enjoyment and low stress dining, we give this experience a thumbs up. Gather some friends and scurry on over.

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