N and I LURVE Middle Eastern Food, and this Friday, we decided to try the newly opened (and newly liquor licensed) Istanbul Grill (2505 Professor Ave) in Tremont. N and I sat at the bar and found out all kinds of stuff about the restaurant: It was opened by two Miami grads (go Redhawks!), who, like N and I, are also a Miami Merger (two married Miami grads). They've been open two weeks, and the bar is the original bar from the old Hotz that formerly occupied that spot. The chef is Turkish, and all the meat is butchered in-house. I'm not joking when I say you can taste the freshness.
N and I couldn't decide on just one item each, so we decided to the Dinner for Two. At $39, its a FANTASTIC deal, and includes appetizers, the mixed grill entree and two desserts. Absolutely everything was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!!!
The appetizer sampler included humus, grape leaves, baba ghanoush, hayadari, tabouli, Soslu Pathcan, and Ezme salad dip. I'd previously tried most of the appetizers at other establishments, except for the hayadari (yogurt with walnuts, dill, and garlic), Soslu Pathcan (Eggplant in a spicy tomato sauce), and Ezme salad dip (mied tomato, walnut, onion, peppers). My favorites were the Ezme salad dip and baba ghanoush; the hayadari was ok, but I would've been fine skipping it.
The Mixed Grill Entree included Doner, Chicken and Lamb Shish Kebabs, and Adana Kebabs (really well seasoned ground lamb and beef), and they were melt-in-your-mouth good. Seriously, I can't even describe how good the entree was; needless to say, N and I can't wait to go back there!!1
The baklava is really good too, appropriately sweet, but not too much. All the desserts are homemmade too.
If you're looking for Middle Eastern cuisine on the near West Side (beyond Aladdin's), I highly recommend Istanbul Grill. They also have a lunch menu (all items under $10), and are open 11:00am - 9:30 pm, except for Friday and Saturday when they're open until 11:00pm. Closed Monday.