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Pasha in Arlington; VERY disappointed

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We were excited to try Pasha in Arlington after many good reviews here and elsewhere. We have eaten and loved Turkish food all over the world and mourned the demise of Istanbul Cafe on Comm. Ave. (The food at Brookline Family Restaurant is decent but we've never quite been able to get over the total subshop atmosphere and glare of harsh fluorescent lighting).

In short, we wanted to love Pasha. Sadly, while it is cute and the service gracious, the food was extremely disappointing.

We had the following:

Bread was a not-super-fresh unidentifiable flatbread. Came with small dish of olive oil and tiny dish of tasty hummus/bean-like spread.

Imam Bayildi (traditional eggplant appetizer, $6.95). This was probably the best dish, nicely flavored, although with a strong suspicion that the bland tomato sauce came from a can, a suspicion heightened by other items we ordered.

Sigara Boregi (described on the menu as "fried mozzarella sticks," $6.50). We usually love these, typically fried cylinders with tasty feta-style cheese inside. The Pasha version had a baked rather than fried consistency and were filled with a heavy/gooey/stringy mozzarella (so the menu was apparently honest but the app far from the wonderful authentic original).

Sebzeli Borek ("filo dough stuffed & rolled with seasonal vegetables & Turkish spices, baked in the oven," $6.50). Kind of like a baked burrito in filo dough. Filled with the same gooey mozzarella-like cheese and cut vegetable medley, very heavy on carrot cubes, that was obviously from a CAN (or perhaps frozen and then overcooked to limpness), and very bland.

Kalmar Kizartma ("Fried calamari marinated in unique beer sauce, served with fresh vegetables and lemon", $8.95). OK fried calamari, but nothing special and nothing to dip in.

All of the above apps came with a big mound of shredded green salad and sliced union, undressed. There is oil/vinegar/salt/pepper on the table however. Given the volume of lettuce that came with everything, no reason to order a separate salad.

As a main, we split the Hamsi Bugulama ("boneless anchovies roasted with fresh seasonal vegetables. A delightful seafood dish found only in our kitchen", $17.95). Again, we usually love these little fish, typically grilled, roasted or fried whole (with bones/heads). We should have been suspicious that these were boneless. From what we could tell, the dish consisted of: CANNED SARDINES, canned frozen vegetables, drowned in bland tomato sauce and roasted in an iron dish to a mushy consistency. Pathetic, especially at that price point.

Had a nice bottle of Turkish white wine reasonably priced at $19.95 and decent Turkish coffee (first cups brought to us were lukewarm but they graciously replaced with fresh/hot coffee).

Total came to about $90 with tip for two. Unfortunately I don't think we'll be back any time soon.

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  1. I was thinking of heading out there, thank you for the detailed warning.

    1. I think the key at Pasha is to avoid the seafood and go for the simpler dishes, the meat dishes, or the sandwiches.

      1 Reply
      1. re: StriperGuy

        Wow. What a sad statement: I expect fish to be what good Turkish places do best.

      2. Probably should have found this post before we headed to Pasha in Arlington last night. We, too, were quite disappointed. The mixed middle eastern appetizer was fine but our main courses were disappointing. My lamb saute was not hot (temperature-wise) and totally devoid of flavor. Likewise, the chicken saute. The grilled meatballs were nothing special. Finally, the dish which supposedly cooked in "philo dough" was merely served in sandwich wraps. Off the list!