Turquoise Cafe gives tasty Mediterranean experience

By Julie Dimas

The Turquoise Cafe is located on Roscoe and Leavitt, which is around a 10-15 minute walk from Lane. This is a well suited name for this restaurant, since the color turquoise reminds me of the ocean, which fits well for the restaurant since it offers a variety of very appetizing Mediterranean food. I heard about this restaurant when I first ate there on a field trip for my French class. They served us a community style lunch and everything was delicious. I had never heard of or tried most of the food on the menu because I usually do not eat outside of Hispanic food. This was one of the reasons why I was very hesitant about trying these new foods. However, my friends convinced me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things, so I did. It is definitely a choice that I do not regret.

When I revisited Turquoise Cafe with a friend it was six o’ clock, so we had to order from the dinner menus, which at first glance can be pretty intimidating. Since we were on a tight budget, my friend and I decided to share a plate. We ordered “Adana Kabob” and an order of fries. While we waited for our dinner we were served a homemade triangular bread that was embedded with seeds. Although the bread had a hard exterior, it was really soft and chewy on the inside.

We were also served a plate of yellowish/orange spread that was a substance composed of carrot, yogurt, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. We used this as a spread over our bread, which gave it a sour but creamy flavor. The fries that we ordered were very appetizing. They are probably some of the best fries that I have ever tasted -yes, even better than McDonald’s fries. They did not overwhelm my mouth with salt -instead, they were thin and seasoned, which gave the fries a very unique, satisfying taste that was centered around the seasoning in the potato.

The Adana Kabob we ordered consists of chopped seasoned lamb shoulder with red peppers, crushed pepper, and grilled vegetables. I had never tried lamb before, and when I did it tasted very gratifying. The meat was well done and not over cooked. I liked that the lamb was dry instead of covered with grease, like most meats are. This allowed me to taste the spices that were stuffed into the meat, which added to its enticing flavor. This was all served on top of rice pilaf and served with yogurt sauce. The rice was plain and moist, but the white yogurt sauce added a sour yet sweet taste.

The desserts that we ordered were Kazandibi and Almond Parfait. The Almond Parfait was a sweet vanilla ice cream, infused with almonds and covered with a chocolate Bacardi sauce. The sauce added a bitter taste to the dessert that was a little strong at first, but was balanced with the sweetness of the ice cream. The Kazadibi was a custard filled with caramelized butter and sugar and topped with vanilla ice cream. This dessert was soft, creamy, and sugary.

Besides the food, I also really enjoyed the restaurant’s atmosphere. It was very peaceful, serene, and very family like. When I called to make a reservation, I was greeted on the phone by a very friendly person. When my friend and I got to the restaurant, we were greeted by a friendly hostess who brought us to a table that was covered with a white lined cloth and a white candle in the center. The lighting in the restaurant was dim, and the music that played was very tranquil, quiet, and soothing because of the various soft repeating melodies.

Unfortunately, I had an allergic reaction at the restaurant. I am allergic to eggs and when I ordered dessert, I forgot to ask whether or not the desserts contained eggs. I learned my lesson; when you try new food and you have an allergy, make sure to ask for the ingredients in the food before you order.

Overall, our experience at Turquoise Cafe was a good one. We enjoyed our dinner, the music was nice, the waiters were friendly, and there were no rude people shouting across tables as opposed to my usual restaurant options. Our grand total for the dinner and desserts was $38.17 (tip included). However, since this is more of upscale restaurant, I would recommend it for special occasions like Valentine’s Day. All in all, I give this restaurant four out of five stars because although the food and the service were great, it was a little on the expensive side.