Not knowing much about Turkish food (never enough) I took my friend D’s offer to sample Su‘s menu with enthusiasm, making a wednesday date of it and rather improving my perception of Verdun’s ability to provide an artistic dining experience (aided muchly by Gigantic Cool-Looking Plates and Copious Bread and Spiced Oil <— these obviously being the building blocks of Fancytimes :P)
The picture to the right isn’t mine (photo credit: wherever and whoever this belongs to), and my camera batteries decided to conveniently die mid-conversation about how handy it is to have phones built into iPods for just such occasions as having your camera batteries die, so long story short, MY pics are mine, but a little grainer, a little punker than they would be otherwise. I would apologize… but, no. haha!
We started with the Meze Tabagi for $26, splitting 5 starters – 4 vegetarian and upgrading one last one to a meat option for an extra $4 (sooo worth it, I really had to do it… if you mention sumac, pomegranate and little bulgur orbs all in the same sentence, I’m dying to know what you’re talking about in a more personal way.. soooo ordered and sooo enjoyed – picture to follow). Actually this place is amazing for vegetarians if you stick to the mezes. Clockwise from top left, there are Sigara boregi “pastry rolls stuffed with feta cheese and herbs, pan fried to golden brown,” Zeytinyagli enginar, “Artichoke bottoms topped with carrots, fava beans and dill, cooked in olive oil,” Shaksuka, “Eggplant, green peppers, onion and garlic cooked in fresh tomato,” and Pancar salatasi, “Roasted beet, served w/arugula, yogurt and olive oil dressing”
The shakshuka was absolutely awesome! – cold, and not oily at all with distinct flavours from each of the vegetables, and each retained it’s structure under the bath of that garlicky yogurt I love so much. The feta rolls were also a standout! Perhaps because they fried (haha) but also the cheese that chef Fisun Ercan chose for them was so sweet, lightly pungent and melty that the last few bites quickly became the premium currency of the plate, pieces offered in friendship and treasured on the tongue, miam!
My little beef foray (sorry D, and other vegetarians, I’m an adamant omnivore right now, and a sucker for sumac as previously mentioned) was into the Icli kofte, “Bulgur dumplings stuffed with minced beef and walnut served with arugula, sumac and pomegranate,” which were well seasoned and had a crisp exterior with tender nutty meaty centres, a really cool textural experience! I guess I wished the sumac had been more incorporated into the dish, as opposed to dressing the arugula that the balls sat on, but I still really enjoyed these.
Finally for the main we decided to split the vegetarian version of the Manti ($17). Now, Manti is actually one of my favourite dishes! (Curiously they usually involve beef and I’m not really a beef person usually, but maybe Turkish/Afghan food has a way of making cow palatable to my tongue :P). They’re little tender dumplings served with sweet tomato sauce, garlic yogurt and copious amounts of olive oil, and it’s simple and it’s delectable and I was more than happy to try Su’s vegetarian version – and they did not disappoint!
Pictured is about half of an entree, as they even split it between two dishes for us (massive white plates that you must cross to find deliciousness, much like crossing the tundra from the metro to the resto! oho! it is poetic and I’m SURE the exact intended effect, haha). Impossibly tender, smooth & whole lentils inside loaded with toasted coriander, and luxuriating in all that olive oil, these had no trouble disappearing down to my belly.
Plus some tea, plus some good conversation and crusty bread with that aforementioned spiced oil, Su did not disappoint! We even got to observe scenic Verdun while we ate, tucked away in the most atmospheric corner we could annoyingly request, drawing little creatures on the paper tablecloth and practicing our Hiragana. I suppose one day I might grow up, but until then I’ll continue drawing big beefy arms (thematically totally serendipitous, I assure you!) on things and eating with my fingers. schwa schwa!!
Current music: (at least, stuck in my head)