Guess who went and had a deliciously unique lunch but forgot her camera?
I busted out the winter coat this afternoon for a chilly stroll down Liberty Avenue to meet a former intern of mine for lunch. We chose Istanbul Grille's downtown location because it looked fast and unique. We were right!
As soon as I walked in I had a good feeling about this place. The line was wrapped around to the back of the tiny walk-in restaurant and the smells permeating from the grills were mouthwatering.
Sadly, our experience would have been much more enjoyable had we gone on say, any other day but today. The downtown location has no indoor seating (save for one lone stool under the thin counter which looked like the kid picked last in gym class all by itself). It was spritzing outside and we could see our breath for the first time since last March, so the tables in the veranda next door were out of the question.
We battled back and forth with heading across the street to Starbucks and paying for a Pumpkin Spiced Latte so we had a place to sit, but my companion spotted an unclaimed, sheltered table in front of Au Bon Pain. We kept our jackets buttoned and bared the cold to enjoy our meal.
I had a generous helping of the chicken gyro meat on top of turkish brown rice with an enormous side salad. She had the vegetarian platter with hummus, Babaghanoush with pita bread and the same salad. We both had trouble finishing, but not for lack of flavor! We were just given that much food!
The chicken was absolutely divine. It had just enough crisp to make it full of flavor but not taste remotely burnt. I've been picking at it since lunch even though I'm about to burst at the seems. And I watched as I waited in line while the prep cook continuously refreshed the salad with new lettuce and fresh vegetables, oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper, and mysterious (but tasty!) Turkish spices, tossing it every couple of moments to make sure the oil and vinegar didn't settle at the bottom of the bowl. That is commitment! And commitment never tasted so good.
Meat platter (chicken): $7.50
Vegetarian platter (hummus/Babaghanoush): $6.50
Diet Coke: $0.50
Ginger Ale: $0.50
Total for two (she paid, the sweetheart): $15.00
No tax, cash only, quick, easy, outta there.
My experience with the downtown location has definitely intrigued me to the point that I am dying to check out their Lawrenceville location and sit down with a bottle of wine of my choice in what looks like a very warm and inviting atmosphere. If it smells and tastes anything like the Liberty Avenue joint, I'll be hard-pressed to leave!