NEW TURKISH CAFE AND MEXICAN RESTAURANT OPEN

Simit & Smith, a small cafe, just opened at 124 West 72nd Street on Thursday night, selling simit, the pretzel-like pastries shown above, as well as coffee, tea and sandwiches.

Simit comes in various flavors: original with sesame, whole wheat with sesame and whole grain.

You can have it with hummus, cream cheese and other spreads. The owners say it’s a healthier kind of bread snack, and one that will be familiar to people who have traveled or lived in Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Macedonia and Serbia.

“Our goal is to become a food staple for those who call the US their home away from home, who have seen simit on their travels, who are adventurous and want to try a new product, or who are looking for a healthy alternative to traditional bread items.”

The simit is made in New Jersey and trucked to the store every morning.

Click on the photo of the menu at left to enlarge.

Cocina Economica Mexico also just opened at 452 Amsterdam Avenue (Between 81st and 82nd) in the former home of the restaurant Recipe. It’s owned by Recipe’s owners, who also run land Thai a few doors down the block. The chef at Cocina Economica used to cook at Land Thai. The owners promise that “the ever changing authentic menu will be inspired by market finds that capture the imagination of Chef Pedro and Chef David, prepared fresh each day.”

The menu is intriguing: it includes Mexican casseroles with vegetable and meat options, and various shrimp and fish dishes like “Camarones Con Chipotle”: chipotle marinated prawns. swiss chard, plantain, zucchini, pineapple, sesame seeds. Check out the full menu here.

Some early yelp reviews are good: “Like Land Thai, the ingredients tasted fresh, high-quality, and the dishes were cooked more like you’d make at home than in a restaurant– light and flavorful. ┬áIf you like spicy, ask for extra salsa!”

But not everyone is in love: “The food arrived on cool plates, in small portions and was mediocre. Guacamole arrived not seasoned with a TINY bag of chips and when more chips were requested, we were told it was $2 extra. Overall, unimpressed.”

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