I always get a little nervous when I hear there’s been an ownership change at a restaurant I like. So much of what makes a restaurant work -- or any successful business for that matter -- emanates from the top on down. Learning that there had been a recent change in ownership at Bosphorous, the Turkish restaurant on Park Avenue, I approached with trepidation.
But I’m happy to report that all is well. The atmosphere is still just exotic enough to make you feel you’re not on Park Avenue (unless you choose to dine outside, which puts you squarely on the avenue). And the food remains as good as always. Or better, if you ask new owner Doved Sexter. He says that when he first ate at the restaurant he thought the food was terrible. Sexter had found his way to a table at Bosphorous following a 20 year career at Darden Restaurants where he did everything from managing Red Lobsters to working on new technology projects. When he left the company, he says he took some time off, then one night -- 2 o’clock in the morning, actually -- he went online and searched for restaurants for sale. A broker contacted him to suggest he buy Bosphorous.
Despite his initial reaction to the food, and an admission of having no Turkish heritage -- “Not even a little bit” -- Sexter found himself the restaurant’s new owner.
I stopped in for lunch recently and had a perfectly fine meal. I had the donor kebap, which featured thinly sliced, charcoal-broiled lamb, served on rice with red onions, cabbage and carrots. There was also one grilled pepper that, when I took a bite of it, took my voice away. Very hot. My guest had the chicken adana, chopped chicken with red bell peppers, parsley and paprika. Our only complaint was that we’d wished we had been served some bread to eat with our entrees. Our server told us -- and not exactly in a warm way -- that bread was served with hummus and that we could order that. We did, and we enjoyed the bread, but we shouldn’t have had to pay $7.95 to get it.
Sexter told me he’s still making some changes. Maybe that will be addressed soon.
Bosphorous is at 108 Park Ave. S., Winter Park. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-644-8609. Here is a link to the Bosphorous Web page.