Turkish Stuffed Cabbage At Savann |Upper West Side, NYC

A vegetable gets stuffed

Turkish kebabs are fine, but we prefer Turkish cabbage–specifically, cabbage in the hands of chef Galip Ozbek of the Upper West Side's restaurant Savann, who treats the underrated vegetable like a diaphanous sheet of fresh pasta.

Ozbek, a native of Turkey's capital, Ankara, first butchers a whole lamb, grinding the trimming from chops and shanks. He then thumps the meat with dill, parsley, short-grain rice, onion, black pepper and tomato paste imported from Turkey. And, in prototypical Turkish fashion, Ozbek also seasons the meat with a wallop of mint–some fresh and some pungent dried Turkish mint.

He wraps cabbage leaves around the meat stuffing, then places the rolls in the oven. Two hours later, the cabbage's snappy structure has collapsed into delicate softness. To finish, Ozbek slicks the rolls with a light tomato sauce and yogurt that has been suffused with the sweet nap of fresh dill.

Each order of stuffed cabbage (lunch, $11, dinner, $15) features a pair of plump rolls. Sure, two of the logs are, theoretically, a sufficient quantity of food. But like its starchy Italian kin, cannelloni and manicotti, two logs of meat-stuffed anything is never enough.

Savann, 414 Amsterdam Ave. (at 80th St.); 212-580-0202 or savann.com