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Turkish Food in Burlingame: Get Out of Mivan, Get Into Mi-Car

katya | Sep 6, 2005 06:43 PM

I love me some Turkish food, and was really excited to discover Mivan in Burlingame, as it’s substantially closer to my home than the amazing New Kapadokia in Redwood City and the only slightly less amazing A La Turca in San Francisco.

Reading the menu, I was in Turkish delight (get it? get it?). All my old favorites were here: ezme, piyaz, and sigara borek. Lots of kebabs and kebab sandwiches. Even five different types of “Mivan’s pizza” – one with kashahval cheese, olives, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions. My mouth was watering.

I ordered the appetizer combo for $10.95 as my entrée so I’d be sure to try as many things as possible. The boyfriend ordered the lamb sauté for $10.95. Hot house bread showed up at our table. The bread looked better than it tasted, though nothing was overtly wrong with it. We weren’t sure why. My spidey-sense tingled. Something was wrong.

Little did we know this would turn out to be the high point of our meal.

The entrees arrived. My combo included dolma, hummus, baba ghanoush, tabouli, ezme, and piyaz (a white bean salad). I had substituted falafel for piyaz, and ended up receiving two portions of piyaz as though it came with the combo platter anyway. Where do I start with this platter of suckitude? The dolma, which sounded like an interesting and exotic version on the menu as it was stuffed with rice, pine nuts, and raisins, was so oily and lemony that my lips puckered with each bite (while the oil dripped off). The hummus was much too oily and didn’t taste of garlic or tahini, and the baba ghanoush had a weird fatty – not eggplanty – mouthfeel that was disturbing. The tabouli had no bulgur to be seen, and seemed to be a big pile of flavored parsley. The piyaz was strange. It was too lemony and had spicy notes that definitely didn’t belong (I owe it to something in there that resembled crushed red pepper).

The ezme was a travesty. It reminded me of terrible guacamole I’ve had in which mayonnaise substitutes for much of the avocado. In this case the ezme, which should be composed of (and I quote from the menu) “mashed peeled tomatoes, red onions, walnuts, red pepper sauce, olive oil, and lemon juice,” looked like a giant puff of lard with food coloring to make it orange. Not surprisingly it tasted like it, too. Which I guess is good if you’re into the taste of orange Crisco.

The boyfriend ordered the lamb sauté, described on the menu as “lamb with fresh tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, parsley, spices, served with rice.” He said that it tasted like some mediocre fajitas he’s had, and that it was like beef stew with a bowl of tomato soup poured over it. Since he didn’t use words like “travesty” or “orange Crisco” I’m thinking he got off better.

The best thing about Mivan is that it occupies a pretty little spot – sort of a Turkish looking café. But don’t let your guard down and go here! It’s like a black widow. You’ll um, mate with Mivan and then Mivan will um, eat you! Well, maybe that analogy wasn’t all that successful…

Only a few other tables were occupied on the Friday night we visited. In fact we were the second to last group to leave, and we felt bad leaving our attentive server with the only customer left, a man we called “horny guy.” He ogled the server and talked her up every time she approached anywhere his table.

Thankfully I had the mediocre bread, but I still left hungry. Part of me was happy I’d ordered the combo appetizer, so I had some variety to my bites of evil.

I’m embarrassed to say that when I left I was thinking that maybe I should come back so I can try my very favorite Turkish dish, the sigara borek (stuffed filo dough, deep fried with feta and parsley). Then I came to my senses, noticed that they spelled it “cigarette borek,” and judging from my dining experience, could only imagine that it would taste like filo dough encasing ground up cigarettes.

Since we were still hungry we drove to our new favorite place, Rolling Pin Donuts in San Bruno for a nice hot glazed. It’s sad when your meal tastes like orange-colored lard, and you’re having a donut chaser. That night I think my blood officially turned to Crisco.

Avoid at all costs:

Mivan Mediterranean Cuisine
1232 Broadway
Burlingame, CA
Open 7 days a week

Link: http://www.jatbar.com/detail.asp?num=141

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