I’ve been to Cafe Shish Kebab (the sister restaurant to Cafe Istanbul) occasionally for dinner, but was told they had a lunch special that was – yes, I’m going to say it – pretty special. For $8.95, you get three courses – a choice of appetizer, a choice of entree, and a dessert of their choice. Other than dessert, there’s about 7 or 8 choices for each course. Excuse the harsh lighting, I took advantage of sitting outside when we were having unseasonably warm weather last week.
The first thing they did was bring out a loaf of Pide (Turkish bread), which is nice and crusty on the outside, and fluffy soft on the inside. They served it to me with some oil that had what I believed to be sun-dried tomatoes and other spices in it.
For my appetizer, I chose their Baba Ganoush, one of my favorite dishes at this location. The portion size was quite substantial, and the flavor was fabulous – nice combination of smoky eggplant and tahini that enhanced rather than overpowered the natural sweetness of the vegetable. The texture was nice and smooth, unlike the dip I had at their sister restaurant.
For my entree, I went with Chicken Shish Kebab. I’ve never had a bad kebab by them, and the chicken is suprisingly one of the more flavorful and tender ones – the juices served to flavor the buttery rice they sat upon. Vegetables are extraneous and honestly wouldn’t be missed if they weren’t there.
The dessert was a little disappointing – a tiny square of baklava that was sort of on the dry side. While it did serve as a nice palate cleanser, it was a bit of a letdown after the two fabulous dishes that preceded it.
Service was slow but my older waiter was very kind, as he always is when I come to their restaurant. Definitely worth the price of admission, but if you only have an hour for lunch, you may have a problem getting back on time. A great way to experience a great restaurant on a smaller scale.
If you’d like to go: Cafe Shish Kebab, 1450 Bethel Road, Columbus, 614.273.4444