Day 27 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge flys over to Turkey as it is found in Brookline Village. The Family Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner has a tremendous lunch buffet as well as boasting some of the best Turkish specialties in town from kebabs to confections.
The atmosphere is casual and details like the Coptic eye and scenes of the Turquoise coast can be found in the big room. Iskender kebab is one of the Family’s most famous meat plates typical of Bursa in northwestern Turkey. The meaty treat gets its name from its creator, a guy named İskender (Alexander) who dreamed it up about 100 years ago back in Bursa, and it is great. Thanks Alexander.
Thin wide lean slices of grilled lamb basted with hot tomato sauce are presented over croutons anointed with butter (traditionally sheep’s) and floated next to a white pool of outstanding fresh and bright yogurt. Tomatoes and long green hot peppers are roasted and fit in somewhere on the maxed out large oval. This was like eating the most tasty sub sandwich turned inside out, The deep flavors in the tomato sauce contrast perfectly with the tender strips of lamb and cooling yogurt but the croutons are the star adding a buttering still slightly crunchy texture that sings.
You will be thirsty, yes? Since 1930 Erbak-Uludag Inc. also in Bursa, Turkey has been bubbling up Uludag Gazoz a limony soft drink very similar to Sprite yet far more subtle and potable. Efes pilsner beer and pastis like Raki are a few of the choices on the semi-full bar list that are popular delicious pairings that make one feel a little like Turkey too.
The Family Restaurant has at least a dozen different items for a Sultan's sweet tooth. The service at lunch works from the counter and on this occasion (in a monotone) suggests Kazandibi for dessert. Cinnamon had rained on the milk rice flour pudding. This sweet traditional delight of Turkey was enough to feed a small army and a great big place to land at the end of this big Turkey lunch.