LUNCH OF THE YEAR / BEST OF 2013

lentil1MERCIMEK CORBASI is Turkish red lentil soup that’s simple, flavorful, and nutritious. It is also 032c’s go-to lunch. Our soup du jour. Just around the corner from the 032c Workshop is the Rosenthaler Grill und Schlemmerbuffet—a 24-hour Turkish joint that’s also a huhnerhaus, osteria (apparently the location used to be a pizzeria), and bar. While kebab and pizza are the restaurant’s most popular dishes, we always choose the lentil soup—the quality of which can vary, depending on a few considerable elements:

VISCOSITY

Our best guess is that Rosenthaler Grill uses chicken stock left over from its countless hen birds served hot and daily and in their entirety. Though at times you can taste they’ve added too much water, making lunch unfulfilling. We prefer it when the carrots or potatoes are still formally recognizable.

FRESH LEMON

The lemon wedge is crucial. It allows you to add a personal touch of freshness. Luckily, Rosenthaler Grill has such a high volume of traffic that its ingredients have to be fresh. This makes for juicy lemons and very few disappointing squeezes of starchy pulp.

POSSIBLY MINT

Although many establishments always serve fresh mint with mercimek corbasi, Rosenthaler Grill does not. However, every now and then, when the goodness of the day rears its head in this crowded cafeteria in the touristed part of town, it comes in the form of green, leafy mentha. If you’re feeling acid reflux or heartburn, this, along with the cold yoghurt ayran, will help to ease you into a more alkalized afternoon. Just feel lucky.

CRUSTY BREAD

Soup is not enough on its own. Therefore the quality of the pide roll can be momentous. Actually, the best time to eat mercimek corbasi is when they’ve just finished baking their fresh rolls, which we observe happens up to three times a day. If you choose to dine at this sweet moment, the pide roll will be hot and crusty. Break the bread in as many ways as you like, just remember to save some left for licking the bowl clean, enjoyed most without stale pide.

GOOD SEATING

Just as decisive as arriving when the pide is in the oven is having a place to sit. Like most soups, mercimek corbasi doesn’t transport well back to the office. And because Rosenthaler Grill is the most popular restaurant in this corner of town, it’s nearly impossible to find a place to sit between 13:00–14:00. Although service is fast, making eating alone a bit more aspirational than usual, the mercimek cobrasi at Rosenthaler Grill is most enjoyed when there’s room for company.

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