Two weeks ago I joined friends for dinner at Anatolian Table Turkish Bistro in Sacramento’s Midtown. This is an off-shoot of Rocklin’s Anatolian Table, a board favorite. It opened nine months ago and has a more limited menu than the original.
We started with some shared appetizers. Mucver, $6.45, a pair of fried zucchini pancakes, were golden brown and crunchy on the outside and light and moist inside. Greaseless, well-seasoned and quite delicious especially when swabbed with the thick yogurt sauce, this was an excellent version. Mixed cold appetizers, $19.95, were mostly fine but for the spicy hummus marred by acrid and excessive heat. Additionally, the selection skewed too much toward dairy and nut components making the overall impression stultifyingly rich. We were wishing for some lighter and brighter choices.
From the kebap menu, we tried the Beyti, $13.95. Not seen often, I always order beyti kebabp when it’s available anywhere. The ground lamb’s wrapped inside lavash flatbread then grilled. Heavy on garlic, the seasoning of the meat made it addictive. Served with an herbed yogurt sauce, the version here was missing the napping of tomato sauce that I’ve had elsewhere. The rice was overcooked, and the salad on the plate was forgettable. But we did like the flavor of this lamb very much.
Lamb casserole (guvec), $14.95, featured cubes of tender lamb with vegetables in sauce topped with a shellacking of mozzarella and rice on the side. It was okay but tasted a little tired.
Luckily, we’d saved room for the housemade desserts, which turned out to be the highlight. Baklava, $4.95, had the crackly phyllo layers of freshly baked. Two to a serving, this day’s was filled with walnuts. Other days it might be pistachio, we were told. I wasn’t into the whipped cream from a can, but it was on the side and easy to eat around.
Even better, Kunefe, $7.95. Before ordering, I’d checked to make sure it would be served hot and not microwaved. Our server said that there’s no microwave in the kitchen and that it would take 10 minutes to be ready. Baked in a special dish, the phyllo filaments were even finer than I’ve seen elsewhere. Crisp and golden pastry outside, the unsalted sweet cheese filling softened to a warm and oozy contrast in texture. Just sweet enough, the kunefe had just the right amount of syrup and plenty of crushed pistachios. This might be the best kunefe I’ve ever tasted.
Results were decidedly mixed. The service was spotty, that is, our waiter forgot one of our dishes even when there were only two other parties in the place. Then there was the uncomfortable moment when he pleaded with us to pay in cash because he doesn't get his tips from credit card transactions. Yet at this price point, I would return and learn to order judiciously. If nothing else, I’d come back for the kunefe.
Anatolian Table Turkish Bistro
2319 K St
Sacramento, CA 95816
"Rocklin: great Turkish"
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