New York Magazine

Seaside pizza, bar & grill has pizza on its takeout menu, but its heart and soul is pure Turkish delight Marooned on the fervid islands of New York this summer, the Underground Gourmet had to content himself with palatal travel -- i.e., inserting exotic food into his mouth, closing his eyes, and allowing himself to be transported, in a vehicle of odors and flavors, to his favorite vacation spots of yesteryear. This has, inevitably and bittersweetly, meant returning to his mother's homeland, Turkey, and to the bereaved city of Istanbul, where boatmen in crazily tilting barks steadfastly serve up what may be the most alluring sandwich in the world: a half-bread loaf crammed with grilled, lemon-drizzled peppers and tomatoes and fish freshly netted in the Sea of Marmara.

hat said, Seaside pizza, bar & grill's forte lies in its masterly lahmacuns and pides -- appropriately enough, Turkey's answer to the pizza. The lahmacun -- flat bread topped with ground lamb and a subtle sprinkling of chopped vegetables ($2.25) -- is larger than what you might see in Turkey, but it comes with an appropriate bunch of flat-leaf parsley and freshly chopped, cayenne-peppered onions: You pile these on the bread, squeeze on the juice of a quarter-lemon, and roll up the ensemble into a delicious spliff. For an even more substantial feed, try a kaskaval ($6) or a kusbasili pide ($8): The former is a dill-sharpened affair of feta cheese, parsley, eggs, and butter; the latter is spicy chopped baby lamb with peppers and parsley. Both are excellent.

Seaside Restaurant 124 Ocean Ave., Staten Island, NY 10305 Ph: 718 556 9000