Turkey in Columbus
November 25, 2011
OK, you're probably really sick of turkey by now. I promise, this article isn't about turkey. It's about Turkey, and all the great Turkish experiences you can find in Columbus. In this great melting pot, this city has a strong tradition of Turkish immigration, and some of the best shops and restaurants around to offer the next best thing to a trip to Istanbul.
Karavan , in the Short North Arts District, offers authentic homegoods from Turkey, in a cozy, welcoming setting. Whether it's kilim rugs, scarves, beautiful painted porcelain, or a keychain that wards off the evil eye, Karavan has you covered.
My real affiliation with Turkish culture is the food - it's my favorite cuisine out there, and the perfect, healthy, flavorful thing to help you recover from the excess of Thanksgiving.
My favorite Turkish restaurant in the city (actually my favorite RESTAURANT in the city) is Shish Kebab Mediterranean Grill , on Bethel Road (its sister restaurant, Cafe Istanbul , has locations at Easton and on Main Street Bexley.) Tucked into a suburban strip mall like so many other outstanding restaurants here, you really feel welcomed when you walk in. The richly paneled walls and comfy booths make you feel right at home, and shortly after you sit down, a server brings over a basket fully of still-warm pide (an oval-shaped bread that's studded with sesame and onion seeds and bridges the distance between crisp and doughy.) Alongside, you can dip bits of the pide in tomato-paste-and-herb-spiked olive oil.
I can never make my mind up on just one appetizer, so as a shared entree, I usually go for the meze platter. Meze are the Turkish version of tapas or antipasta - little bits of appetizer that are flavorful, colorful, and downright good for you. My favorite is ezme, a mix of chopped hot pepper, tomato, walnuts and mint. The dolma - grape leaves stuffed with an intriguingly sweet spice mixture - are also a standout.
There are lots of kebabs and seafood dishes on offer as well, but I usually go for the calamari. It's breaded very lightly and fried until it's just tender. Served alongside is a tarator dipping sauce, made of bread, garlic and nuts. I could eat this all day!
If you're sick of turkey and ready for Turkey, you can also try out Cafe Ephesus in Dublin. What do you crave when the turkey is gone?