Dee Glaze and I checked out Sultana tonight, the new Turkish place on El Camino in Menlo Park. Upon perusing the menu outside I didn't see anything that I couldn't get at any number of places within a short driving distance. But, Dee Glaze, always up for new things, and possessed of an open mind, particularly when mine is not, prevailed upon me to give it a shot.
We started by splitting cracked wheat fritters filled with minced lamb and walnuts. The texture was good, crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle, and the stuffing was ok too but overall there was a noticeable lack of flavor. In the mouth these got dry very quickly and we were hoping for a dipping sauce of some kind to liven things up. Alas, the fritters were accompanied only by a mound of shredded lettuce and cucumbers. Fair, at best.
In between courses I overheard a couple in their 70s seated nearby telling the waiter their main courses weren't spicy enough. Uh oh. The guy was going a little nuts on the salt shaker, drawing disapproving looks from his wife. "But it needs salt," he pleaded.
For mains, I had the Izmir Kofta. This was a dried-out version and the kebabs tasted as if they sat on the grill too long. Boiled tomatoes and carrots with a light tomato sauce failed to ignite any sparks. Again, very dry and nothing shaking in terms of flavor. Below average.
Dee Glaze fared somewhat better with her ground lamb stuffed into levash bread with yogurt sauce. This was ok, though the levash bread was at room temperature so you had to bite through very flat-tasting bread to get to the flavor element. The thick, creamy yogurt sauce helped but not enough. Again, below average.
The ambience was weird, too. It's white table-cloth and dim lighting, completely out of synch with the food.
The bill came to $37 including tip so at least the wallet emerged unscathed.
No real reason to return here.