Saturday night was spent in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood, dining and drinking at two of the area’s best spots – Divan Turkish Kitchen and the Sidecar. Dinner was first up, at Divan. It’s a cute and cozy spot on the corner of 22nd and Carpenter. There’s quite a number of tables, but very little room to maneuver between them. When I say cozy, I mean it. I apologize for the crappy pics. It wasn’t very bright in there, and I was experimenting with my dumb point and shoot by not using flash, and as you can see, it just didn’t work well. We had fairly early reservations, so when we first got there, we were one of the few parties there.
You get some complimentary bread, which is always nice, and we ordered the falafel with hummus as an appetizer. The falafel were delish – warm, flavorful, good texture, with a tahini sauce on top. The hummus, good, but a bit too liquidy. It seemed like it should have been thicker. So this place has a liquor license, but it’s also a BYOB, with a corkage fee. It’s nice that they offer that option.
D got the Karides (shrimp casserole). Notice the hilarious presentation in a fish shaped dish. He seemed to enjoy this dish quite a bit. S got the Hunkar Begendi (pureed eggplant topped with lamb). I didn’t taste the lamb of this, but I did taste the eggplant and I loved it. It had a kick ass smoky flavor. I could certainly have eaten a plate of this.
C went with the Kayseri Manti (turkish dumplings). This was pretty good, but the dumplings were so teeny. I think it would have been better with bigger dumplings, so you could taste the filling more. I went with the Iskender, which was the doner kebab (ground lamb) with a tomato sauce. It was ok, but I should have gone with the plain doner kebab. The sauce was rather bland, and it was supposedly served over a turkish pita, but it looked like to me that it was served over burnt croutons. It was weird. I would have liked it if it actually came on top of a pita. Yes, that is a giant pepper on my plate, and yes, it was hot.
In general, the food at Divan was good. Everyone enjoyed the food. Some of the portions could have been bigger, but the food was fine. Now, the service? Well, the service was weird. We keep wanting to chalk it up to “lost in translation”, but let’s just say that perhaps there were some communication issues with our waiters. We’ll just assume they’re Turkish, and they seem really really fresh from the motherland or something. D ordered an unsweetened iced tea. He got it. Then he asked for sugar, so he could sweeten it on his own. He got no sugar. Then he asked again, to another waiter, and he still didn’t get it. So then he asked again to the original waiter, and he brought D a new sweetened iced tea. It was bizarro. We were having a pretty good time, so even after we’d finished all our food, we just hung out talking and drinking wine and watching C drink his turkish coffee. They gave us a not-so-subtle hint of wanting us to leave by shoving another two-top next to our four-top. Ok, we get the hint, we’ll leave! We don’t blame them, it was a Saturday night, and they were quite busy. On to the next joint!
We walked down the street to the Sidecar. And you know how much I love this place from my previous experience here. I was the DD, so I did not drink, but S had a greyhound and C had some kind of weird beer he liked. And D, well, he was actually still hungry from his meal at Divan (he’s a good eater!) so he actually ordered more food! :-) He got the Philly. He seemed pleased, and finally sated.
And I certainly could not forget the pecan square from my last time here. I HAD to order it! Yum. Sweet, chewy, sweet, sticky, sweet, nutty goodness. Man. So damn sweet, but so damn good. We also had a slight communication problem here. D had to ask for ketchup twice. So weird! Maybe D just had bad condiment karma that night. Otherwise, the service at the Sidecar was good, and the waiter was funny and a good sport. Like I said before, I just love this place.