Friday, January 14, 2011

Istanbul Grill in Tremont

Seriously, it is a week of amazing eats for this foodie. I had lunch at Light Bistro yesterday, I'm headed to Washington Place Bistro & Inn tonight, and we have reservations at Blue Point Grille on Saturday night. But I left one out...last night I dined at the relatively new Istanbul Grill in Tremont.

Located on Professor Avenue, near the corner of Starkweather, it is close to Lucky's Cafe and Lily Handmade Chocolates. It is nestled in next to residential homes, so when I pulled up last night the soft glow of the restaurant felt like a beacon drawing me in. The restaurant wasn't quite as busy at 6:30PM when I arrived, but by the time we left at 8:30 the place was full and a little noisy. It could have been the large table of women that were clearly celebrating something. You know how loud us girls can get when we all get together! I admit it.

My girlfriends had grabbed a perfect table for four that was secluded in its own little nook off the main dining room. It was great for catching up, without feeling like we were completely cut off from the hustle and bustle of the restaurant. We started with the small Mixed Appetizer plate, which offered us small portions of seven different appetizers. Some of them were: hummus, baba gunnush, cacik, tabouli, and grape leaves. The dish was served with warm, fresh pita bread and the entire plate of food was delicious. The cacik- thick homemade yogurt mixed with cucumber, dill, mint and garlic- was a table favorite. Now I have to say that selecting a main entree was tough, and by the time we ordered we had all agreed that we would be back (and soon) to try other dishes. I decided to go with the Iskender Kebap ($13)- vertically grilled lamb sliced and served with yogurt and tomato garlic sauce over pita bread. So basically, we are talking about a gyro on a plate here people. And we all know about my love for Fergie's gyros. So I was really looking forward to this dish, and it did not disappoint.
The bed of pita bread was hidden under the pile of lamb meat and a thick layer of yogurt sauce. I was surprised by how much sauce was used, but I was not complaining once I dug in and all of the flavors blended together. The meat was seasoned well and had a nice crispy outer layer, which is exactly how I like my gyro meat. The creamy yogurt sauce was one of the best that I've had, and I enjoyed the subtle tomato and garlic flavor of the sauce. I was in gyro heaven. It was so good that I joked with my friends that I wanted to leave it in my car overnight to take into work for lunch the next day instead of sharing my leftovers with "R". But I was gently reminded that it is his birthday today (hence the good eats this weekend), and he really loves gyros. So I sucked it up, and brought home about half of the dish to one happy 31 year-old.

Needless to say, all four of us (and "R") enjoyed our meal at Istanbul Grill and we'll be back soon. They also have a nice bar area in the front of the restaurant that I know we'll be trying out. This was a great Tremont find!

Istanbul Grill
2505 Professor Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 298-4450
Istanbul Grill on Urbanspoon


Nancy said...

Is Istanbul the place opened by the former chef from Anatolia and Antalya Red Square?

Alicia at Poise in Parma said...

I was at Lucky's Cafe this morning for a breakfast meeting. When I parked my car on Professor, I realized I was right across the street from Istanbul Grill & thought of your tweet from last night. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

Sarah said...

There's an ad for this place on Carnegie that I drive by most days. I've been curious to try it - thanks for the review. The cacik sounds awesome, I love yogurt/cucumbery goodness.

Modern Musings said...

can't wait to try it, the menu looks amazing! thanks

Bite Buff said...

All- The menu was quite tempting, and it was hard to choose. While I'd have a hard time not getting the same dish again, I think that I must try more! Hope that you all get a chance to get there soon.

Nancy- I'm not sure if this is the restaurant or not. I vaguely remember rumors of this, but several ethnic restaurants have opened or are about to open in the area. I'll have to look into that.

Anonymous said...

Yes, he is the original Turkish chef who brougt us Anatolia's menu (original location) & Antalya Red Square. He is a butcher & chef, he makes all his kebabs from scratch, and the gyro spit daily.

Heather said...

That is my FAVORITE dish there- every time I get it my BF makes fun of me because without fail I tell the waitress about a hundred times that it's 'the best food i've ever had.' LOVE this place.

Bite Buff said...

It has since closed.