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We realized after the fact we snapped the lunch menu -- but, by our recollection, it's pretty similar to the dinner menu.

Kismet Mediterranean Grill

Kismet Albany exterior

It's in the Junior's/The Point/Cafe Madison/Madison Pour House/Curry House strip along Madison Ave.

We've been curious about what was happening at this space, so maybe you were, too..

A new Mediterranean restaurant called Kismet opened this past Saturday in the corner storefront at the busy Madison/Western/Allen Street intersection in Albany. We saw the lights on the other night and stopped in for dinner, and two things:

1. The transformation of the space is remarkable. There had been a Brueggers in there for many years and the space had looked like... well, a rather lived-in bagel shop. Now it's a tasteful and comfortable sit-down dining space.

2. The food was good! We tried a sampler of the dips as an appetizer and split the mixed grill for dinner. The hummus was smooth and garlicky, the shakshuka was tangy, and the meats in the mixed grill were well seasoned and cooked nicely. (Also: The service was very friendly.) We'd happily go back.

The chef/owner of Kismet is Chingiz Jafarov. He came out during dinner to say hello to diners and ask how everything was.

Hours and a few more pics, along the with the menu...

Hours

Monday-Thursday: 11 am-9:30 pm
Friday; 11 am-10:30 pm
Saturday: noon-10:30 pm
Sunday: noon-9:30 pm

Pics and menu

Look up: they're at the top in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

Find It

Kismet Mediterranean Grill
1116 Madison Ave
Albany, NY 12208

Comments

I'm eager to try this place. To my knowledge this is the only restaurant in the area serving Sigara Boregi (fried cigar shaped pastries made with feta and phyllo). I'm kind of curious about the shakshuka. I know there are Middle Eastern/North African variations on the spicy sauce, but I've never heard of one without eggs poached in the sauce. It's fundamentally an egg dish, isn't it?

Am glad it is open!
Want to try the shish kebab.
Called Steve Barnes the other day to ask if he knew when this place would open, but he didn't know then.
Now when is the Italian restaurant near The Madison going to open???

I've been anxiously waiting for this place to open..so happy to have Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food as an option in the neighborhood. I wish them lots of success

@chrisck: Yeah, this was different from the shakshuka that I've encountered before. It was more like a chunky stewed eggplant, pepper, tomato salsa. But it tasted good.

Kismet, please post your menu and hours on your website! This is how people thinking of whether to eat at your restaurant make their decision.

Comparison of the baba ghanoush to that of Beirut in Troy, if possible? Please and thanks. (I LOVE theirs.)

@chrisck: the shakshuka people commonly know is the egg dish, but our server told us the word itself means "mixture". It was delicious!

What a great addition to a flourishing neighborhood - food and atmosphere were great. The owner and his wife introduced themselves and made sure everything was fine. We told them perfect!!!

Have been anxiously awaiting the opening of Kismet. I absolutely love the menu with all the fresh amazing food. A nice addition to Albany. Welcome

@chrisck I had "fried cigar shaped pastries made with feta and phyllo" at the Phoenicians Mediterranean Palace. They were just listed as "cheese rolls" so I'm not sure if they are Sigara Boregi, but they were very nice and I wonder how they compare to those at Kismet.

The cheese rolls at Phoenicians Palace are definitely a rendition of cigar borek. I ordered them and liked them.

@Fisher -- it sounds like the same thing, or similar to Sigara Boregi.

I went to Kismet this afternoon and ordered a meze trio, choosing the Sigara Boregi, hummus, and babaganoush. I ordered to go thinking this would be my lunch, but the portions are generous enough that this is two lunches. If you go with a party of 4 (or more), I would suggest order two meze trios to get all six appetizers to share. I liked everything very much. The babaganoush has a chunky texture, but not smoky (charred flavor) as some versions. The hummus is very smooth. I must be a real Garlic Head because I didn't find it all that garlicky, but I think the amount of garlic would suit most people. You can actually taste the chick peas in this version instead of it being a vehicle for garlic.

Service was excellent and the owner was genial answering a lot of my questions. He gave a very good answer to my question about why no falafel -- because he doesn't like it! He only wants to serve food he loves to cook and eat himself and that is a philosophy I can respect. I urged him to offer a shakshuka with eggs in the future and he said he's definitely considering it.

I'm really happy to have another place in the area with a lot of vegetarian options.

My wife and I were there on Monday night, May 15. Easy to remember because it was our anniversary. Food/service was great.

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