Review: Cafe Shish Kebab

Cafe Shish Kebab exterior

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.

Pide from Cafe Shish Kebab

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.

Dipping Oil from Cafe Shish Kebab

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.

Baba Ganoush from Cafe Shish Kebab

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.

Chicken Kebab from Cafe Shish Kebab

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.

Baklava from Cafe Shish Kebab

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

Cafe Shish Kebab on Urbanspoon

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