At first, I thought Cafe Anatolia might have it, so I made bedfull_o_books drive me there. Sadly, despite their name, they don't actually make much Turkish food. A search for Turkish food in Boston turned up the Boston Kebab House, which I'll need to write up sometime, because it was a favorite lunch place for cmeckhardt and me, back when our work locations made it convenient. Unfortunately, Boston Kebab House closes at 8PM. But there was another alternative listed: Brookline Family Restaurant! Open until 11. And their online menu said they served Adana Kebab!
Brookline Family Restaurant
305 Washington Street
Brookline, MA 02445
T: Green Line D Branch to Brookline Village
True to its name, Brookline Family Restaurant does have an unassuming family restaurant sort of way about it: with padded booths along one wall and tables in the center, like a thousand other family restaurants all over America. But the food is something else entirely.
It's probably because there just hasn't been that much Turkish immigration into the States that its food has been overshadowed by its neighbors Greece to the west and Iran to the east. And it does share some similarities with both, with kebabs and rice featuring prominently on the menu. But it would be a mistake to assume that's all there is to Turkish cuisine.
Brookline Family Restaurant gives a good sample of the variety of Turkish food: while the standards, like doner, kofte, and shish kebab are all on the menu, there are also items like alabalik, a whole brook trout, char-grilled or pan-fried, and sebzeli guvec, a vegetable casserole served with rice.
We both started with cups of lemon chicken rice soup ($2.95), which had nice, bite-sized chunks of white meat in the thick lemony soup. It arrived with excellent Turkish bread, as well as a bean salad with diced tomatoes and cucumbers.
I got the Adana Kebab ($13.95) which comes as two long strips of minced lamb, mixed with crushed red pepper and , lying across two beds: one of rice pilaf and one of bulgur wheat, garnished with parsley, and served with sliced onions, quartered tomatoes, and shredded carrots. A couple of grilled green peppers laid along side the lamb completed the attractive presentation.
Adana Kebab is, in its home town of Adana, in Southeastern Turkey, often a spicy dish, but its level of heat can be reduced as you go north and west. Here, the kebab has just enough bite to keep your attention, but isn't by any means wildly spicy.
bedfull_o_books ordered mantı, from the handwritten specials menu. These little pasta pockets are a bit like tiny curled up tortellini, and were served lightly tossed in a red sauce, with a generous dish of yogurt that one could top them off with. (I stole some of the yogurt for some of my Adana Kebab, too.) They were served with the pasta still nicely chewy, and I found them delightful, with little bits of flavorful ground meat within.
For dessert, we shared a sweetened pumpkin slice, garnished with what bedfull_o_books identified as ground almond ($3.50). We almost couldn't finish it, as we'd already had too much food.
Turkish tea ($1.50), served in the traditional tulip-shaped glasses and drunk with sugar, was the perfect accompaniment to our meals. Beer and wine are also available.