>So, a couple months ago I purchased a Groupon to a restaurant near our apartment in downtown Baltimore, thinking it would be fun to try out something different. Once Scott and I finally found a good evening to make the trip, we headed towards Cazbar…”an authentic Turkish Taverna”.
And wow was it different! We had a really good time. As in most restaurants, the lighting was dim which made it difficult to get a good photograph of our surroundings, but it had a romantic, exotic atmosphere, and light fixtures that I’m pretty convinced I want in my house someday.
|We were seated by the window, and it just happened that the way
the reflections were situated, it looked like the ceiling fixtures
were actually hanging outside in the trees. I loved it.
Needless to say, the menu was more than a little bit intimidating, with items like Adana Iskender & Kofte Kebap on it. Fortunately, they had English explanations under each name, which made the choices a bit easier.
I settled on Manti, which is Turkish Beef Dumplings, topped with yogurt and garlic butter. Scott bravely decided to tackle Lamb Kulbasti, which is grilled filet of baby lamb, seasoned with oregano and garlic.
|Blurry, but a photo of Scott’s Lamb Kulbasti, served with a dill-yogurt sauce.|
As nervous as we were, this actually turned out to be great adventure. Scott’s lamb was tender and moist, and my Manti was unlike anything I had ever tasted before.
It’s always fascinating to me to see how different cultures use different flavors. At first I was weirded out at the thought of yogurt…on my food? My warm…savory…dinner food? But amazingly, it really made the dish. It’s difficult to describe, but trust me, it was delicious.
Another interesting thing we noticed was our side salads (you can see the bright colors on our dishes). This side salad was incredible. Upon thorough examination, I came to the conclusion that what gave it its fresh, almost tangy flavor was an incredible amount of fresh, curly parsley. It never occurred to me to put parsley in my salad before, but I can guarantee you I’ll be trying it at home. Basic ingredients like mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions had a whole new life brought into them by the simple addition of that one little herb.
We finished off our evening by splitting an Turkish apple soda, which is basically just glorified soda water flavored with what tasted like an Apple Jolly Rancher, but it was fun, different, and green, which made it all worth it.
Overall, we really had a great time. I highly recommend going out of your comfort zone to a restaurant of a different ethnicity. It’s definitely a change of pace from your typical steak and salad bar restaurant, and makes for a really fun date night!
Have you had any interesting ethnic dishes lately?