Although it is representative of its diverse population, south Brooklyn is in a culinary rut. If you are looking to go out to eat, you are mostly limited to Russian, Turkish, Mexican, Chinese or Japanese (i.e. discount sushi) food. With the exception of a few favorites – like Los Mariachis and Brennan and Carr – most eateries on the south side of BK sort of meld together on the same mediocre plateau.
Pera is a Turkish place that opened quite recently on Emmons Avenue. Emmons Avenue is a wide boulevard that is adjacent to the Sheepshead Bay canal (known to many Brooklynites simply as “The Bay”) and it is lined with a whole bunch of restaurants and lounges, unfortunately none of which are truly remarkable. My friend Michelle and I paid Pera a visit last week for an early dinner, in hopes that we’ve finally found a place on The Bay that is worth returning to.
To start, we ordered a cheese borek ($6), a traditional, flaky Turkish pastry. It is served warm so the cheese is all melty and the outside is crispy. I highly recommend it.
Then we split a shepherd salad with feta cheese ($8). A shepherd salad is composed of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions, seasoned with olive oil, vinegar and lots of black pepper, and topped with shredded feta cheese – it is not unlike a traditional Greek salad. This was great as well, but of course it is hard to mess up a salad like this.
For the main course, we split a chicken shish ($13), cubes of marinated white meat chicken grilled on skewers, which was served with rice, a side salad and grilled lavash (a type of flatbread). The chicken was tender and juicy, but slightly oversalted. It also could’ve used some sort of sauce or dip.
Overall, I wouldn’t say that the experience was amazing, but that may be because I’ve eaten so much Turkish food while living in Brooklyn that it’s hard to distinguish the good from the mediocre. I do give Pera extra points for attentive service, beautiful decor and a good atmosphere. It’s also perfect for a fun dinner-with-drinks with friends or a cozy date night.