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The Turks were famous for trading in their gastronomic treasures, as well as a gemstone the luminescent blue-green of the Aegean Sea that was named after them: turquoise. It's the dominant color in the gorgeous, abstract tiles the Turks used everywhere in their houses and monuments, and it is the color of the "evil eye" amulet they sometimes wear on bracelets and necklaces to guard against the envy of neighbors. Turquoise is a color so soft and cool, you can almost taste it, like inhaling pure ozone. Mediterranean flavors seem to inhabit the same wavelength; they're a natural match for summertime.
Turquoise the restaurant specializes in whole grilled fish: Dorado, snapper, striped bass, brook trout, red mullet, and fillets of black and Chilean sea bass. The Dorado ($28.95) was exquisite: The whole fish, head and tail intact, is char-grilled, ladled with lemon, and sprinkled with freshly chopped oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper. The flesh is so moist that it falls away from the bone at the slightest pressure. They serve it with sautéed spinach and a chopped salad of tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers.
A similar salad can be had as a main plate or an appetizer — the shepherd salad ($7.95, $8.95 with feta) combines green peppers, tomato, pickled hot peppers, parsley, and cucumbers in a sharp lemon and olive oil vinaigrette; it shakes every taste bud awake. We preferred the hot meze plate ($24.95) to the cold one, in part because the cold plate duplicates the baba ganoush or pilaki (white beans in tomato sauce) you get as a free starter with Turquoise's warm bread and because, at $24.95, it's one pricey platter of dips. With the hot meze, you get chickpea falafel, with its tasty combination of outer crunch and inner pillow; cigar-shaped sigara borek filled with cheese and herbs; and zucchini fritters that are heavenly dipped in yogurt and tahini.
Seafood couscous ($26.95) wasn't as shockingly good as the whole grilled fish; the nutty grain topped with shrimp, scallops, and squid sautéed with mushrooms, broccoli, and zucchini was fine but too familiar. We liked a mixed grill ($29.95) very much, though, a carnivorian feast including a baby lamb chop, succulent and pink; a rather ho-hum chunk of marinated and grilled chicken; a juicy lamb shish kebab; lots of grilled peppers and tomatoes; a patty made of chopped, seasoned beef; and a long sausage-shaped kebab made from grilled minced lamb mixed with mint and other spices — all of it cooked over an open flame and beautifully caramelized.
Between the salads and the half-dozen meat-free main courses, along with many cold and hot meze, vegetarians should be as happy here as their meat-eating friends and foes. If you have an ounce of space left to shove down a forkful of dessert, the sweet, buttery shredded wheat dish kadayif, served with pistachios ($4.95), is honey for a bear.