Dining Outside at Anatolian Kitchen
When the devastating earthquake hit Turkey last month, restaurateur Dino Tekdemir set to work immediately to launch a GoFundMe, and to donate 40 percent of proceeds from sales at his Anatolian Kitchen in Palo Alto on Feb. 16 to the victims of the disaster.
Born and raised in Turkey, Tekdemir, also owns the Austrian cuisine Naschmarkt restaurants in Campbell and Palo Alto.
With the people of Turkey still prominent on our minds, two friends and I took advantage of a brief respite from the savage rainstorms of late to dine outside at Anatolian Kitchen last week. With outside tables that spill onto the sidewalk and into the street that’s still closed to cars since the pandemic, it makes for a fine place to have a gal-pal lunch.
A must-order is the mix appetizer platter ($29.95) that’s perfect for sharing and noshing. It’s an assortment of cacik, a tzatziki-like yogurt-cucumber-garlic dip; a thick, coarse hummus; moderately spicy muhammara made with walnuts ground with roasted bell peppers and a touch of pomegranate molasses; smoky eggplant puree; skinny dolmas rolled around rice pilaf with currants and pine nuts; and my favorite of fried eggplant chunks in a saucy mix of tomatoes, garlic, and bell peppers.
It’s all ideal with the tender, compact slices of bread, flecked with sesame seeds that come to the table with a seasoned herb olive oil dip.
If you’re in a sharing mood, the mixed grill entree ($33.95) also offers an ideal opportunity to do that with a spread of grilled meats that come arrayed on a long wooden board. They include kofte or grilled ground lamb patties that are seasoned nicely; morsels of marinated chicken shish kebab; cubes of tender lamb shish kebab; and thin slices of lamb and beef doner kebab. Rice and a small house salad accompany it.
A simple arugula salad dressed with red wine vinegar gets fortified with supremely tender pieces of grilled octopus ($23). Being winter, the tomatoes in the salad added more color than actual taste, but the arugula was vibrantly peppery tasting.
Thanks, Anatolian Kitchen, for reminding us to keep the people of Turkey in our thoughts and hearts.