Tabaq and What Not to Wear

I finally made it over to Tabaq for dinner and drinks on Saturday, and chatted with one of the owners, Melih, about all the attention the dress code has received. The official word is jeans are a-okay. Shorts, flip flops and athletic wear are not. He said he'd like the standard to be loosely based on business casual attire, but I saw plenty of people in jeans. Also, there's no specific dress code during weekend brunch. (But leave the pajamas at home.)

We arrived around 8 p.m., and there were no doormen yet. We sat on the roof and enjoyed the ginger and roma martinis. The former was a refreshing blend of vodka spiked with plenty of spicy ginger, the latter a subtly sweet pomegranate cocktail.

Meals at Tabaq start with warm braided bread and pesto oil for dipping. We ordered the hummus à la Tabaq (studded with sausage), the mushroom crepe and crispy duck borek to start out. Highlights included nicely seared scallops served with tomatoes and tender lamb shank atop eggplant puree. The most interesting dish we had was calamari coated with shredded wheat—a thin, wide piece of calamari was encrusted by crunchy wheat strands. It was a refreshing change from the ubiquitous fried calamari slung around all over this city. We ended with the lemon tart and mousse-like chocolate cake, both elegantly presented and satisfying.

Tabaq's roof is definitely one of the coolest spots in the city to grab a drink or dinner. The clouds rolling across the sky made the view even more stunning, and the candle-lit atmosphere makes you feel like you're some place special. I hope they'll eventually start serving brunch up there — I'm envisioning a sunny September morning with a cool breeze, an eye on the skyline and a paper in hand.