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May 31, 2009 07:38 PM

New Arlington Chow Find: Pasha Turkish Cuisine

Chow find! Pasha Turkish Cuisine is a terrific addition to Arlington, and to the general collection of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restos in the area. They opened last Tuesday, and thanks to early raves on the Arlington town email listserv, they've been packed. It's a cute little joint, they've used the previous Tsunami space well.

I don't have proper names for dishes because their website isn't up and running yet, but here are a few of the highlights:
- awesome housemade bread that comes with small dishes of olive oil, a garlic-packed relish of sorts, and a yogurt/sour cream/walnut/garlic dip.
- zucchini fritters with a garlic yogurt sauce
- grilled lamb kabobs on a green salad (the lamb was amazingly delicious -- something to add to the lambstravaganza thread!)
- anchovies in a cast iron casserole pan with mixed vegetables in a flavorful and spicy tomato-y sauce (this is different from the other anchovy dish, which is rolled in phyllo)

I regret our small party and limited appetites kept us from trying more items, but the folks next to us were there for the 2nd night in a row, and they were doing a good job of making their way through various dishes. We hope to copy them soon.

Pasha didn't have a soft opening, so they're still working through some issues. They ran out of some dishes and specialty beverages much faster than anticipated, and await their next deliveries on Monday. The staff is friendly, but a little overwhelmed right now. Considering they've only been open 6 days and have been slammed, I'd give them multiple thumbs up for handling it with grace and a smile.

669A Mass. Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476
(781) 648-5888.

This will be their website (so they tell me), but right now it's not working:

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  1. Thanks for the heads up, can't wait to try it!

    1. The walnut dip was probably "tarator".

      1 Reply
      1. re: Taralli

        Probably so. They didn't have paper menus to take away, but they are going to be doing delivery. I wish they'd get their website up.

      2. Thanks for the pointer. A friend and I went to Pasha for lunch today. We were very happy with our meal. My friend declared the food "better than Sofra and at a much more reasonable price." I have never tried Sofra so cannot compare. My take is that the food was delicious, presented nicely, and the service was very prompt and welcoming. Between the two of us we spent about $25 including tip on lunch, which consisted of a tabulli appetizer (which we split), an appetizer-sized serving of mulcer for me and a sandwich with lamb (don't remember the exact name) for my friend. The meal was served with some very nice foccacia-like bread and dips (olive oil, a yogurt-like substance that also reminded me of sour cream, and a spicy item that was otherwise similar to the tabulli). My dish consisted of zucchini pancakes with more of the yogurt-like item on top, plus a small undressed shredded lettuce salad on the side. Everything was very fresh. I enjoyed the variety of textures and bright flavors. I definitely will be returning to try dinner!

        Finally, I will add that they appear to have made some progress since Litchick's visit. There are menus that you can take. They are in a holder just outside the restaurant's door. My friend and I noticed, however, that they do not list everything. For example, her sandwich was nowhere to be found. So when the website comes up, it will probably be more authoritative.

        1. Thanks to litchick's report, two friends and I ate dinner at Pasha Wednesday night and were very impressed. Brookline Family Restaurant is a favorite of ours but not very convenient so we were pretty excited to hear there was a Turkish restaurant in our very own town. Our verdict: Pasha is even better than BFR, with brighter flavors, more sophisticaed presentation, and very warm, welcoming and solicitous service. The only way in which it falls short of BFR is in the value proposition, as the prices are nearly identical but the servings smaller. Not that it's overpriced: 4 apps, 2 mains, 2 glasses of wine, 2 beers came to $80, which really isn't bad at all. And it being early days I am guessing that they are still playing with price and portion size, most places do for awhile.

          The details: bread basket with excellent bread and three small dishes of dips: seasoned olive oil, chopped spicy vegetables and hummus. Mucver (fried zucchini fritters) were nicely crispy, very fresh-tasting and complimented by a drizzle of yogurt sauce and a crispy salad. Kizartma (sauteed baby eggplant with garlic yogurt and tomato sauce) was gorgeous, stacked vertically, bursting with flavor, the eggplant nicely complemented by planks of very sweet roasted carrots. We order this every time at BFR and will continue to do so, but this version was on a whole different level. Dolmas were competent but not out of the ordinary. Haydari (homemade yogurt, sour cream, garlic and walnuts) didn't sound like much but it was a flavor explosion and we fought over it. I don't even think I like walnuts but I loved them in this. Adana kebab (spiced ground beef and lamb) was delicious, beautifully charred and extremely juicy, served with very nice rice pilaf (although the menu said bulgur) and salad. Karniyarik (whole small eggplant stuffed with meat, vegetables and spices) was also divine, the caramelized, crunchy eggplant skin contrasting with the richly-flavored meaty interior. This also came with rice pilaf and salad and the rice made a great vehicle for the savory dish.

          They seem to be doing a land office business but handling it gracefully with a staff of three in the front of the house and sufficient staff in back for food to come out (for us anyway) at the perfect pace and correct temperature. They are still running out of things (one friend had the last Turkish beer and then had to switch to something else, they were out of the red bean app we wanted) but it is nice to see their early success and as litchick said, they are extremely nice people.

          1 Reply
          1. re: GretchenS

            I had the skewered lamb sandwich for lunch yesterday and liked it so much I took my wife to dinner there that night. We both loved it. We ordered the Beytea (seasoned ground beef in phylo with yogurt and tomato sauce) and the curried sauteed vegetables (Kori sosiu sebze sote). It was like having a circus in your mouth. Just wonderful flavors. I wouldn't call it cheap and portions are pretty good but the quality of flavor and range of the menu are outstanding. I hope they're here for a long time. Arlington needed something other than another Indian or Japanese place (or bank).

            Very pleasant space and friendly staff. We we the only people there at 5:30 and it was filling up very fast at 6. Thanks to the OP for the news...this is a wonderful place.

          2. Piling on with the praise. For lunch today: the bread basket with oil, hummus and a minced-vegetable dip; the sauteed eggplant with garlic sauce; and the skewered lamb plate (lamb tasted distinctly of lamb, which I like) w/pilaf and salad. (Actually I ordered the sandwich but was relieved when I saw the plate arrive--much easier to deal with leftovers, and I had overordered.) Very delicious and quite reasonable. They don't have a lunch menu per se but there is a short list of sandwiches and of course many appetizers. They're out of paper menus again but I think mains are in the $13-17 range, sandwiches $8-10.

            Not crowded, service was fine. The room is pretty and quite clean ;-). One drawback: seating is a choice between wooden banquettes with cushions, and low-backed wooden chairs. Those chairs are attractive but seriously uncomfortable, to me anyway.