Tuesday, March 6, 2007

restaurant review: cafe shish kebab

after receiving two enthusiastic recommendations for cafe shish kebab, i decided to check it out for lunch today.
cafe shish kebab offers delicious turkish cuisine paired with warm, attentive service. the proprietors have taken a modest location in the bethel center (next to panda inn) and transformed it into a beautifully rich and cozy spot that feels miles away from its humble strip mall locale. in a recent update, the walls and bar have been covered in beautiful dark wood. i found the flavors to be spot on, everything tastes homemade, and the food is presented in a thoughtful yet unpretentious manner.
the friend i was eating with and i both ordered from the lunch special menu. for $8.95 this has to be one of the best value/quality lunch propositions in columbus. the lunch special allows you to pick one each from a selection of 3 starters (hummus, salad or soup of the day), 8 entrees (consisting mostly of kebab plates) and the desert of the day. our waitress offered turkish tea and we couldn't resist. the tea was tasty, came in a super cute little glass on a silver saucer and our waitress kept the refills coming throughout the entire meal. cafe shish kebab also serves a delicious bread with dipping oil at the table they call pita, but this stuff is way better than any pita i've ever eaten. it reminds me of the bread served at cafe istanbul for those of you who have eaten there.
i chose the mercimek corba (lentil) soup. it is a pureed soup made with red lentils, potatoes, celery, carrots and onions. the flavor was subtle and delicious and the texture was perfect. after the bread and soup i could have easily been satisfied but still had two more courses coming (tip: show up hungry!). my friend ordered the hummus and it was also really tasty. it seemed to have a bit more of a vinegary bite than your average hummus.

i chose the adana kebab (ground lamb and beef with red pepper) for my entree and was not disappointed. the seasoning was dead on and the meat was high quality. it was served with awesome seasoned vegetables and rice. my friend chose the doner kebab and was also impressed.
for dessert, we were served keskul, a homemade almond pudding topped with almonds and pistachio. it had a delicate texture and rich flavor. awesome!
i'd highly recommend the cafe shish kebab and can't wait to try the falafel, sigara borek (hot flaky fillo pastries filled with feta cheese and fresh parsley) and the haydari (thickened homemade yogurt with fresh dill, mint, garlic and walnut). This would be the perfect place to eat an entire meal of appetizers.

cafe shish kebab
1450 bethel road (bethel center)
columbus, oh 43230
f: 614.326.4668
e: fatih@cafeshishkebab.com


Dave said...

Thanks for the tip. My daughter loves this kind of food. We're there!

Dave said...

We're going tonight! Let you know how it is (by the way, my Hummous is my favorite. More tart usually means too much lemon juice. I like mine a tad on the milder side. They're all good though.

Anonymous said...

lucky experience for you, was this a setup in advance? sure looks like it.

kitsune27 said...

no set up, we just showed up for lunch and i snapped pics.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my very favorite restaurants in Central Ohio. The food is always excellent--everything I have tried is delicious. The interior is beautiful, making for a very lovely ambiance. Almost all the menu selections seem to be very healthy.