Small Bite: Bosphorus

A review of Inman Square's newest Turkish restaurant.



On looks alone, the dining room at Bosphorus, a new Turkish restaurant in Inman Square, has the makings of a hot spot: Walls are washed in spicy red; banquettes are capped with gauzy orange tents. The place might even get closer to “It” status once a full liquor license is secured. (Drinks are limited to wine and beer for now.)

But if Bosphorus doesn’t get its kitchen in order, those good looks will be for naught. Unlike at Oleana, located just a few blocks away, the food is neither fully authentic nor a skilled interpretation of Turkish fare. Instead, the restaurant serves watered-down classics: underseasoned manti (Turkish dumplings) filled with tough meat; greasy borek (savory pastries); and hummus that failed to leave much of an impression. If only the pita were homemade or the boiled vegetables weren’t overcooked.

There are highlights, though: tender lamb chops and, for dessert, semolina-and-almond pastries called sekerpare. But until the kitchen starts taking cues from the decorator, we’ll keep our eye out for the next hot thing.

1164 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-945-2730,