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Oct 22, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘Turkish cuisine’

Best New Restaurants: No. 8 – Sheesh Restaurant

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here, the places that dazzled us from the moment they opened: St. Louis’ 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016.

 

120116_sheesh

{ adana kebab }

Sheesh Restaurant is more than just another spot to grab great kebabs. Each time we settle around a low copper table etched with intricate scrollwork, we’re transported a long way from South Grand Avenue. The menu of traditional Turkish dishes is all delivered under heavy burnished domes: from large plates to tiny cups of strong Turkish coffee. Every time a server whisks away the copper cloches, each kebab appears with quiet drama through a cloud of steam. Don’t get overwhelmed among the dozens of sharable mezze, richly spiced entrees and sweet buttery desserts; order one of our five go-to dishes at Sheesh:

1. Baba Ghanoush
The kitchen doesn’t cut any corners with this classic Turkish dip. The smoky eggplant and rich tahini are balanced by garlic and lemon, but it’s the sprinkle of savory, pungent sumac that makes this starter so addictive.

2. Ezogelin Soup
Shove off, Campbell’s. This tomato soup is bulked up with bulgur, rice and lentils for a comforting bowl that actually feels like a meal.

3. Adana Kebab
Tender ground lamb intensely seasoned with Turkish spices (we meet again, sumac) is formed around a blade and grilled before it arrives atop a bed of delicate rice pilaf. This is what kebabs aspire to be.

4. Sheesh Tawook
Not to be outdone by its lamb counterpart, chunks of chicken breast are served juicy and packed with flavor thanks to a lemony marinade with tomato and pepper paste.

5. Knafeh
The best of baklava and cheesecake come together in knafeh, a disc of hot Turkish cheese covered in layer of crunchy, buttery phyllo and soused in sweet syrup.

 

More about Sheesh Restaurant

• Lunch Rush: Sheesh Restaurant

• Hit List: 6 new restaurants you must try this month

• First Look: Sheesh Restaurant on South Grand

Photo by Elizabeth Maxson

First Look: Sheesh Restaurant on South Grand

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Sheesh_02

 

A Turkish restaurant has joined South Grand’s international boulevard. Sheesh Restaurant, at 3226 S. Grand Blvd., opened doors Dec. 3 in a completely renovated former Chinese restaurant. Co-owners Baha and Safa Marmarchi are Iraqi, but they fell in love with Turkish cuisine while visiting and living in Turkey. The brothers hired two Turkish chefs to ensure their restaurant’s authenticity.

In the main dining room, gleaming, low-slung copper tables offer seating for 50 with wide, cushioned chairs. Customers can select from a menu of kebabs, lamb or chicken biryani and other entrees, many of which are served with fresh flatbread or rice. Side dishes include soups, stuffed grape leaves, kibbeh and falafel. House-made desserts feature traditional Turkish sweets like knafeh, a sweet cheese pastry covered in crunchy phyllo and sweet syrup, and baklava studded with pistachios and walnuts. Sheesh offers Turkish coffee and tea service, as well as ayran, a salty yogurt drink.

Sheesh Restaurant is open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Here’s a first look at what to expect when you step inside:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

By the Book: “Essential Turkish Cuisine” by Engin Akin

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Nov15_Round2_1

 

I snatched Essential Turkish Cuisine up the moment it hit Sauce HQ. A few of my good friends are Turkish citizens studying or working here in St. Louis, and I knew they would tell me exactly authentic Engin Akin’s recipes actually were. Akin’s book certainly starts out on the right note with an extensive explanation of the evolution of Turkish cuisine from its ancient roots in the steppes of Mongolia to the heyday of the Ottoman Empire to today’s modern republic.

I chose (or rather, my friends chose) to try a traditional Turkish köfte, or meatball, recipe. Kadınbudu köfte translates to “lady’s thigh kofte,” a dish that dates back to the Ottoman days of lavish palace banquets. A blend of ground lamb and ground beef are mixed with chopped onions, fresh parsley and cooked rice (instead of breadcrumbs), then dipped in flour and egg and fried until golden. Unlike Italian meatballs, these required cooking half the meat first, then combining it with the remaining raw meat and other ingredients before frying. While I don’t know that it changed the overall flavor, the oblong kofte cooked to an even tenderness with the juices sealed in thanks to a thin layer of golden egg.

This simple dish packed a surprisingly amount of flavor and served as a perfect appetizer before a dinner party. It also received the offical seal of approval from my Turkish host, who declared it to be as good as her grandmother’s. It doesn’t get much more authentic than that.

The Rundown
Skill level: Intermediate Though the recipe are simple, the book gives an entire overview of everything from lentil soup to whole roast fish to desserts, so familiarity with a variety of cooking methods is required.
This book is for: A Turk abroad looking for a taste of home or an American looking to travel in their own kitchen.
Other recipes to try: As recommended by my friends – zucchini pancakes (mücver), oven-baked flatbread (pide), Turkish dumpling (mantı) or semolina cake in syrup (revani).
The verdict: By a narrow 2-1 vote, the Engin Akin’s kofte trumps Maureen Abood’s buttery hushweh.

 

Nov15_Round2_2

 

Lady’s Thigh Kofta (Kadınbudu köfte)
6 servings

1/3 cup (35 g.) medium-grain rice
2 onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 lb. (910 g.) lean beef, or a combination of lean beef and lean lamb (the combination will taste better)
¼ cup (5 g.) fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Salt and black pepper
½ tsp. ground coriander
1/3 cup (40 g.) all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
Olive oil for frying

• Cook the rice in ½ cup (120 ml.) water.
• Cook the onions in half of the butter over medium heat until softened.
• In a separate pan, saute half of the meat in the remaining butter, until all the liquid evaporates.
• In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the rice, onion, sauteed and raw meets, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and add the coriander.
• Remove egg-size pieces from the meat mixture and roll them one by one between your palms into elongated balls. Let sit for 30 minutes.
• Then roll the balls in flour and then in the egg. Heat ½ inch (12 mm.) of oil in a frying pan and fry the kofta over medium heat until golden on all sides and cooked through. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot or warm.

Reprinted with permssion from Stewart, Tabori & Chang

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