Soho to Get a Bite of Midtown Turkish Delight

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Popular eastern Mediterranean restaurant to open branch in November

By Megan McGibney

It is said the world's three greatest cuisines are French, Chinese and Turkish. While Downtown has plenty of the first two, it could use more of the latter.

Luckily, Soho is set to get a Turkish eatery of its very own Nov. 15, when the Midtown hotspot Pera Mediterranean Brasserie opens its Downtown version: Pera SoHo. The award-winning restaurant known for its elegant décor and softly lit dining rooms intends to provide this fashion-centric district with some of Turkey's finest cultural dishes.

"I think it's proven to be a great concept," said owner Burak Karacam of his eateries. "Whether it's the décor or the music that's soft to people's ears, it's a very refreshing take on eastern Mediterranean and Turkish cuisine."

Karacam hails from the country's capitol, and the restaurants derive their name from one of Istanbul's more eclectic neighborhoods. Since the 17th century, the place has been home to many non-Islamic cultures, including Italian, Greek, Jewish, Armenian and French. It was in Pera that these groups resided and set up their businesses, and it is at Karacam's restaurants that a blend of eastern Mediterranean cuisine comes to life.

Pera's menu mainly consists of Mediterranean staples like olive oil, zucchini, eggplant, beans, seafood and lamb. Dessert fans may mourn the lack of cake, but will rejoice at Pera's selection of puddings and baklava.

Pera SoHo,designed by DYAMI architects with décor overseen by Karacam himself, will include a lounge area up front with a doorway leading to a garden, which will be open to patrons beginning in April. In addition, during the warmer months, private parties can go to the rooftop and watch the sun set before going downstairs to sup in a dining room that can seat 105. Karacam chose 54 Thompson Pl. for Pera SoHo because of the lack of neighboring tall buildings and the chance to be on the cutting edge of dining habits.

"I think Soho is making a comeback in terms of dining," he said.

When it comes to making Pera SoHo different from its Midtown relative, Karacam is contemplating whether to make a quarter or a third of its menu different. The Downtown kitchen will be headed by the Turkish/American duo of Metin Calisir and Nathan Crouser.

As for the possibility of more Peras, Karacam said, "It's not something we are against, but currently the focus is on getting this one up and running and reaching its potential." After that, Karacam will look around for a new place for New Yorkers to experience one of the world's greatest cuisines.

Istanbul native Burak Karacam in front of his yet to be opened Pera SoHo. phOTO BY Megan McGibney. Pera's Downtown location will be similar to its uptown haunt, located on Madison Avenue. PHOTO courtsey of Pera Mediterranean Brasserie

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