I recommend anyone who is new to the Turkish Cuisine to start their dining experience a the Turkish Kitchen. Yes, I do live only few blocks from here but even I had to travel I would still come to Turkish Kitchen for my Middle Eastern / Mediterranean cuisine cravings.
It's a bi-level restaurant so depending on the night and how busy they are you may be seated downstairs or upstairs. You walk in after taking few steps down and you find ourself in a crimson room with even most of the furniture and decorations are in red, I believe after the Turkish flag. Initially most of the staff was Turkish but within the last few years now it now seems that most of them are Eastern European. They have been always extra friendly and helpful.
I recommend making a reservation specially if you are going for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays. Even with reservation you may have to wait a while during the busy times. Once you are seated they offer a wine list of decent wines including few Turkish wines. Besides the wine list they also have a full bar and their own signature cocktails. I also like the way that they serve the beer in frozen glasses, it's a nice touch. For those few brave one I suggest trying the Turkish Raki which is just like the Greek Ouzo, just go easy because it's very smooth to drink but then has a nasty kick if you don't watch out.
I like starting with the Shepperd Salad, Grilled Octopus Salad and few other small appetizers like Hummus, Tarama Salata, Cacik, Manti, Sigara Borek, etc. Their food has always met and exceeded my expectations. I ate quiet a few Turkish Restaurants all over New York and when I have guests or friends who want to try Turkish this is the place I bring them to. For main courses you have a choice of a lot of lamb dishes, few chicken and couple of whole fish which they fillet them if you prefer.
Take my advice and save some room for dessert and coffee. Once you are done with your meal your server will bring a huge tray of their sweet offerings, they have about nine or ten different dishes where you can choose from. Baklava and Kadaifi are always fresh and tasty but my favorite is the Kazan Dibi (translates to bottom of the pot) and the Kunefe which is shredded dough just like Kadaifi but with sweet cheese filling...extremely delicious.
Besides dinner they also serve lunch (lunch special is a great deal) during the week and brunch on weekends. Last time I went there for brunch was a while ago so not sure if it is the same format but it was an all-you-can eat buffet style.
If you live in the area they also offer a take-out and delivery service. Last time I checked their web site they were offering 20% off online orders.
386 3rd Avenue
(between 27th Street & 28th Street)
New York, NY 10016