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Bursa Kebab in West Portal--really really good.

veebee | Oct 31, 200509:15 AM

It’s in the Chow Guide, but somehow my expectations weren’t very high. We walked in on Saturday night before a movie and were promptly seated. They look to do a brisk pre and post movie business with tables turning rapidly.

We ordered one entrée to share, the Kofta kebab and two appetizers. Don’t remember the Turkish names, but one was mashed lentils and bulgur molded together with lots of parsley and lemon and the other was yogurt blended with feta and mint. Everything was delicious.

The kebab was tender in the way that ground meat handled properly can be—not a hard mass. Flavors were good and fresh. It came with a delicious lemony salad of cucumber, tomato and crisp lettuce. The salad was chopped and dressed perfectly and provided a wonderful crisp counterpoint to the rich meat. The rice was also perfect and there was a garlicky yogurt sauce that brought it all together. I would have liked the meat to be spicier, but that’s just my personal taste. Maybe it’s not supposed to be spicy.

Both appetizers were also great. The lentils were chilled and savory with just the right bright parsley and tart lemon notes and the perfect amount of salt. The creamy yogurt and feta dip was sprinkled with red pepper (or paprika?) and drizzled with olive oil and the mint came through perfectly but subtly. As I was eating, I just kept thinking. Wow, somebody knows how to cook back there. I could just taste the thought behind the seasonings and handling of the food. I was surprised since I’ve never heard much talk of this place.

Prices were amazing. 2 appetizers, 1 entrée, three glasses of wine=$45. Wow. Service was efficient. We were easily out in an hour to make our movie.

Two negatives: the bread that comes with everything is a little too white and fluffy. The wine list is really pretty terrible and uninteresting, (mostly supermarket standards)

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