Serving as the crossroads of Europe and Asia has helped Turkey develop a diverse cuisine inspired by both continents' traditions and favorite truck stop snacks. Sample dishes from the Silk Road turnpike with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of Mediterranean fare at Turkish Cuisine.
Turkish Cuisine's six chefs meld culinary traditions from across their native land to grill and sauté authentic fare for a menu rich with vegetables, yogurt sauces, and savory meats. Diners can warm up taste buds with hot and cold appetizers such as falafel ($6.50) or babaganoush ($6), a pureed potpourri of smoked eggplant, tahini, and olive oil. Entrees range from a selection of 10 stuffed pies ($11+) to chopped beef and lamb kebabs ($12.50) perched perilously over coals to cook until tender or rescued by a dashing hero. A restaurant specialty, iskender ($14.50) smothers fried bread with yogurt, fresh tomato sauce, and gyros meat sliced fresh from vertical spit known throughout the Middle East as a beef cyclone.
Turkish Cuisine's dining room grabs attentions with virbant kilim weavings that cover seats, tables, and the warm brick walls. Perched atop pillow seats, diners can scope views of the open kitchen or - on Friday and Saturday evenings - hone ears and eyes on belly dancers swaying out spellbinding sonnets to the beat of live Turkish and Russian music.
Turkish Cuisine owner Engin Cardak invites diners to watch an open kitchen where six Turkish chefs flame-kiss shrimp, eggplant, lamb, and beef into an array of sumptuous Turkish dishes. Amid red-brick walls and kilim weavings, groups can sop up chickpea and eggplant purees with fresh, oven-baked breads from the in-house bakery. Diners unskewer charcoal-grilled meats and peppers from shish kebabs for ease of dunking in yogurt sauces. The 100-seat dining room pulses to the tunes of Turkish pop music, and belly dancers fill weekends with a jangling of hips unheard of since Elvis took the stage with his pockets full of butterscotch candy.
5605 N Clark St.
Chicago, Illinois 60660