So I think this place on Clark near Foster had existed before (it's in the new Chicago magazine, for one thing), but it suddenly announced itself in the last week or so with a new red awning declaring Turkish Cuisine, either as a name or descriptor, so I went there to try it out last week.
Decor is standard carpet and camel-bags on the walls, pleasant enough if a little downscale of A La Turka. Most interesting thing is that most of the kitchen seems to be out in the room and things are popping hot out of the oven most of the time, including a wide variety of desserts. It might be worth trying for that alone, as it seems to have an unusually wide selection and probably things not found elsewhere.
I ordered-- oh, what's the name-- eggplant and onions and tomatoes sort of caramelized and olive-oiled together-- Imam Biyik? Something like that. Anyway, after I ordered it I remembered that I didn't really like eggplant unless obliterated into baba ghanouj, but it was rich and flavorful, tasted freshly made and with good tomatoes etc., for something that could just as easily have been sitting in the fridge for a week. For the main course I had a grilled chicken kebab, nothing wildly unusual about it but perfectly good. I would definitely go back and try some of the more elaborate dishes, as what I had was quite promising and put it among the better Turkish meals I've had.
ADDRESS: I don't know the address for Turkish Cuisine, but there was a McDonald's across the street, which I assume is the one at 5614 N. Clark. (First time mcdonalds.com's restaurant locator has been used to find Turkish food, I'm sure.)
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I also tried another place on north Clark called Arkadash, in the former space of a 50s restaurant (the Round the Clock, I think) with a big neon sign (they get points for keeping most of that). It appears that they're not really up to speed yet, as they had a New Chef's Specials card tucked into the menu and were promising their own homebaked bread soon (mine was clearly store-bought and microwaved). On that basis I won't dismiss it out of hand, but only the hummus was first-rate out of what I had; the lentil soup was bland and the baked lamb shank was the kind of ordinary comfort food you associate with Greek restaurants that have been around too long. I would give them a few weeks/months to see if they get up to speed, there is at least some sign of ambition in the "new chef's specials," but the place isn't there yet.
Arkadash, 5721 N. Clark
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