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Hubba Baba Gannoush, Did Somebody Say Shawarma!

Turkish restaurant Antepli Mediterranean in Albany Park Chicago delights locals who crave middle eastern meats and sweet treats. Be sure to try their fresh pita with beef shawarma and polish it off with a Kunefa and Turkish black tea!

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Turkish restaurant Antepli Mediterranean in Albany Park Chicago delights locals who crave middle eastern meats and sweet treats. Be sure to try their fresh pita with beef shawarma and polish it off with a Kunefa and Turkish black tea!

By NBC Chicago Food Guy Steve Dolinsky

There’s a number of authentic Turkish restaurants in the Chicago area, most of which focus on kebabs and spreads, however, according to NBC 5’s Food Guy Steve Dolinsky, a new spot in Albany Park puts just as much emphasis on the sweets as it does the meats. Sweet tooths rejoice!

You’ll see plenty of beef and chicken on the menu at Turkish restaurant Antepli Mediterranean, which hugs the interior corner of a strip mall, right next to a massive international supermarket.

They’ll appear on platters as chunky kebabs or ground beef hand-formed around the skewers they’re grilled on or possibly thinly-sliced from a vertical spit, also known as shawarma. For those craving it, don’t miss the Iskender Kebab plate.

Commenting on one of their signature dishes, Antepli Mediterranean’s Manager Kadir Karakus says they treat the meat with sweet fats.

“We use beef, sliced with lamb fat so it gives a different taste, a better taste. We make daily fresh pita bread, small pita bread cubes under it, beef shawarma on the top,” says Karakus.

Doused in zesty tomato sauce with a sidecar of thick, creamy yogurt, the finishing touch is a drizzle of hot, melted butter.

Vegans will love the hand-rolled sarma, or stuffed grape leaves, made simply with rice. If you’re dining with friends, try the generous sampler platter to start.

“Appetizer platter comes with hummus, baba gannoush, eggplant, Turkish eszme; we also serve with cheese rolls and fresh pita bread,” says Karakus.

And dough is everywhere on this menu.

Sometimes, it serves as a base for cheesy, elongated pide, often studded with cured beef. Other times, it’s a delicate, thin crust for lahmajun – a Turkish flatbread with ground beef and lamb that you add sumac-laced onions to, along with fresh tomatoes, then roll up before eating. Another dough – phyllo – is the star of the handmade baklava, Antepli’s calling card among expats, missing a taste of home.

“Because we make baklava everyday fresh and all the products are from Turkey, especially Turkish pistachios. Larger options come stuffed with ice cream. There’s also kunefa, the shredded phyllo dessert soaked in sugar syrup. You can enjoy only cheese or you can enjoy cheese and pistachio together,” says Karakus.

Notes from the Editor: If you want to satisfy your next craving for some Turkish nom nom you can visit them here. This feature was edited from its original publication here.

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