Chowhound Dinner at A La Turca
It's late but I wanted to post a few pictures before I head off to sleep. It was a pleasant evening in SF and a nice night to meet with fellow Chowhounds for some Turkish offerings.
The manti are a Sunday special .....more pictures and comments to follow.
A La Turca
869 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Special thanks to susancinsf for organizing this dinner at A la Turca for the Sunday night special - manti - with grayelf. The fresh salads with the warm table breads, iskender kepab, pides, all desserts, Turkish sweet tea and the red wine, Yakut Kavaklidere,were pleasing. Service was as friendly as always. Excellent evening in the company of 'hounds.
The tiny manti were very different from the richness of Troya's manti, some of us liked it and others preferred Troya's version. Nevertheless, A la Turca is a great value.
349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118
My favorite dish was the iskender kepab plate. The pides and the potatoes and cheese gozlem were good, and I liked the cheesy dessert. Otherwise I was a little disappointed. I thought the food was generally underseasoned. The manti and the carrots suffered from being doused in excessive amounts of yogurt without much in the way of herbs or spices. The sigara boregi were cold and had apparently been fried well in advance. The lamb shisk kabab had a nice char but would have been better (to my and several other people's tastes) if the cubes had been pink in the middle.
It was great catching up with old hounds and meeting new ones, but I wouldn't hurry back for the food.
re: Ruth Lafler
I liked the food a lot more than Ruth did :-) but I wasn't blown away by it. We only have one Turkish restaurant in all the GVRD and it does a much better job on lavash, pides, all the bread based stuff. But I did enjoy the meaty stuff here very much, including the ishkender kebap. And I thought both desserts were delightful (I wanted to order more of those just for me but that would not be in keeping with a Chowdown!). I liked the gozleme and the the sigara boregi (though agree the latter should have been fresh fried). The manti in the plate to my left were perfectly cooked, whereas the ones to my right were a bit too al dente for my personal taste, but I think these manti are ideal comfort food. I managed to nab a less dressed carrot and thought it was sweet, well roasted and nicely herbed. Many thanks to susanc for organizing and everyone for coming out and making this meal such a success. You are all so welcoming to out of town 'Hounds!
It was great to see greyelf and Jonathan again and enjoy some fine Turkish food and good conversation!
I enjoyed every dish, but the stuffed grape leaves and sigara boregi interested me less than the others
I was especially looking forward to the sucuk and cheese pide and it didn’t disappoint. The sausage had a great intense flavor and the chewy pide dough was very satisfying. I was left craving more sausage—with 11 people we didn’t get a lot of each dish, but I’m glad we got to try so many different dishes.
The manti was another high point. The dumplings were smaller than what I have had before (usually at Afghan restaurants) and that reduced the amount of meat relative to the dough. The result was wonderfully chewy dumplings but not as much meat flavor as I would like, still very good.
A La Turca avoided the common sin of overcooking kebabs. My favorite dish of the evening was the iskender kebap. The spicing was excellent and the thin slices of doner allowed a high spice to meat ratio. It might be a bit over-spiced for those who prefer subtlety. The lamb kebab also had great spicing but was just a little less juicy than the best I have had.
The potato and cheese gozlem were also very good.
All in all, it was a very satisfying meal with good company. Thanks to greyelf for visiting again and inviting us along on her food explorations!
re: gordon wing
Thanks for the pics Gordon and for the first report!
I'll be back later with more comments, but in the meantime, here is what we ate, with menu translations where I have them:
stuffed grape leaves
sigara boregi (fried pastry with feta and parsley)
ispanakli borek (fried pastry with spinach and feta)
havuc Kizartmasi ('fried' carrots on yogurt; though really I think they were roasted)
sucuk and cheese pide (beef sausage and cheese pie/pide)
potatoes and cheese gozlem (flat bread filled with potatoes and cheese)
iskender kepab plate (doner kebab in tomato sauce)
manti (a Sunday night special, lamb dumplings in a yogurt sauce)
lamb shish kebab
kadayif (shredded phyllo dough with pistachios)
kunefe (baked phyllo with cheese)
many of the platters came with dressed greens; the kebab platters also had rice pilaf
Some of us also tried a Turkish red; Yakut Kavaklidere
So, hounds, chime in with your thoughts! It was great to see you all!