This is a great restaurant – one of the best I’ve been to (and my wife and I eat out often). We (my wife and I) were in Florida on a trip and were looking for a place that offered very good food without being formal and pricey. We read the reviews on a few sites and saw that they were highly positive so … we went to Istanbul and it exceeded our expectations. I’m writing this just after eating there, and I feel very good. I thought how some might not go to this place because of the thought that Turkish food is exotic and/or something that you don’t know if you’ll like or need to acquire a taste for. This is not the case – it’s things like lamb and chicken that are prepared and seasoned in a way that is delicious.
I ordered Special Beyti Kebab (lamb) and the lamb was moist and delicious. I usually don’t eat red cabbage or shredded carrots but here they’re not just some afterthought – very tasty. I was surprised that I like the cabbage so much. I ate it with pieces of my entrée and the combination was excellent. My wife ordered the Chicken Saute and really liked it. We also ordered ‘Lavas’ – Hollow bread – which is huge and somewhat like Indian Naan. It was very good.
The host, Musa Gulsoy, went to great lengths to make us feel welcome and worked with the waiter to provide what is now one of my top five service experiences. Musa explained that there may be an avoidance of lamb because of past experiences like mine where it was dry and/or had a smell that was somewhat off-putting. Their preparation is different and, despite my having not ordered lamb in a long time, I ordered it and it was great – not like the way I’ve had it in the past. Musa told us that his brother is the owner/chef who has a passion for what he does – preparing dishes with high-quality ingredients. It shows. Musa said that the weekend menu has lamb shanks that are slow-cooked over an 8-hour period and highly recommended coming in on the weekend to try it, saying that the lamb is very moist and delicious.
For dessert, we ordered the Baklava. Musa explained that it was made only 4 hours ago; it was delicious and very fresh. The waiter and Musa had recommended Kanefe for dessert, and next time we’re going to try that.
I wish this place were near where I lived in NJ. It’s just great food – the kind of place that you watch on one of the food network shows where the host looks for places where they offer freshly-prepared, high-quality food that tastes incredibly good.
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