Seven Hills in Nashua, NH. Go Now!
I had wanted to try this place for a while after seeing several glowing reviews in local papers, but hadn't got around to it yet. Last night my wife and I stumbled upon it after Christmas shopping and I really can't rave about it enough.
It is a rather modern looking space with a bar and only a handful of tables in a long, narrow room on the first floor. We didn't make it downstairs but I believe they have a deck looking onto the river out back. We ordered a bottle of Shiraz that was good, not great, but a good value at $24. They have a small wine list with all bottles either $24 or $34, and a full bar.
We ordered the Seven Hills sampler plate to start, while I got the Iskender Kebab and my wife ordered the Chicken Skewer. The sampler was awesome and I will give a quick rundown of what I remember.
Sigara Boregi: Little phyllo rolls stuffed with a sweet cheese, not unlike blintz filling. I could have eaten a dozen of these.
Yalanci Dolma: Stuffed grape leaves filled with rice, currants, and spices. I know there was cinnamon, not sure what else. Very good, lighter than Greek stuffed grape leaves.
Soujouk: Turkish Pepperoni, is how it was described on the menu, I thought it tasted more like a cross between Kielbasa and Salami. Either way it was great, served in a cumin scented sweet sauce.
Kofte: Lamb and beef meat patties. Very tasty, especially when combined with the salad in a pita pocket.
Piyaz: Kind of a basic lettuce, carrot, onion and herb salad with tender white beans. The dressing was lemony and fresh. We found ourselves taking little bites of this the entire meal to kind of cleanse the palate.
Cheese and Olives: A very nice feta style cheese, a little less salty than Greek feta. With oil cured, wrinkly black olives. A basket of soft pita pockets was also included.
Iskender Kebab: This really just blew me away. My only experience with Turkish food was at Oleana which obviously isn't traditional Turkish, so I didn't know what to expect here. It was finely sliced (julienned really) lamb and beef, in a buttery, rich tomato sauce. The meat was from chewier cuts but the knifework made it very tender while retaining intense, almost gamey, meat flavor. It was served over pita bread which soaked up the sauce and reached a soft, almost pasta like consistency. This also came with excellent Turkish yogurt, a grilled hot pepper, and chunk of grilled tomato. One of the best entrees I have had in a long time.
Chicken Skewer: Large chunks of spice rubbed chicken cooked on the grill, with a nice smokiness and juicy interior. Served off the skewer with grilled peppers and onions, and an amazing basmati rice, each grain distinct, fluffy and buttery with just a touch of black pepper and maybe another spice in the background. I could have made a meal of just the rice and pita bread, it was that good.
They offer a few desserts, saw some baklava go by which looked good, but we were too stuffed to try anything. The Turkish coffee also smelled terrific. It was very quiet on a busy night in Nashua, where every chain restaurant we drove by was utterly slammed, so hopefully they are doing ok. Thats all the more reason to check this place out!
Seven HIlls Restaurant
57 Factory Street
Nashua, NH 03060
(looking at the website for this info I see they have a full Turkish grocery on site as well, if anyone checks this out please post!)
We love this place--I posted about it a while back. The owners are very nice, and the grocery store is your one-stop source for Turkish Delight. I agree with you: drive past that chain restaurant and try this unique place.
I definitely want to try this place and had heard good things about it. I recently read through both "The Sultan's Table" by Ozcan Ozan and "Spice" by Ana Sortun (Oleana), which are good Turkish/Middle-eastern cookbooks and may help explain the cuisine.
However, I must also say "Go Now!" to Mezza Lebanese Bistro in Nashua, just around the corner from Seven Hills. I went there before Thanksgiving and have been meaning to mention it here. I went with a group of eight and we each ordered the "Deluxe Mezza" for $24. It was a feast, to say the least and the food was great. We were in no rush, but the meal lasted 2-3 hours, so plan accordingly. It is also BYOB, so you can bring your own wine. I like reds and brought a Cuvée Alexandre Merlot by Casa Lapostolle, a wine that would be a bargain at 4 times the cost in a restaurant (imo).
So yes, definitely go to these places. I would like them to stay around for a while!
A group of twenty of us were in Nashua this week for the campaign and one of our friends was celebrating in 65th birthday on primary eve. We found this posting and called Umet, the owner to see if he could accommodate twenty of us Monday night. He told us that he usually is closed on Monday but would open for our party. Umet, his wife (the chef) and his waiter were extremely hospitable. Because there were twenty of us, Umet suggested that he prepare a sampler and we were especially pleased with the Iskendar and the grape leaves which were (to me anyhow) very much enhanced by the cinnamon as mentioned by the OP. When I saw other members of our group the next day, they were all extremely complimentary of our choice.