It's always great to see friends from near and far. So when a friend came to Edmonton for a business visit, a few of us decided to go out and have a nice dinner together. The friend from Calgary had seen Sofra Authentic Turkish Cuisine featured on the Food Network show "You Gotta Eat Here!" a few weeks ago and was dying to go. Now I have been to a couple of restaurants shown on YGEH and have had good experiences (see Tres Carnales Tacqueria). So on the COLDEST day in March (thanks a lot JUDY), we trekked our way downtown.
I was curious to know why there was this bizarre and creepy plastic eye glued into the centre of the wooden table. It was interesting to find out from our waitress that the eyes on each table (seen in the picture above) are part of the Turkish superstition. Apparently, these eye-shaped amulets are believed to ward off evil.
Judy wanted to unwind with a bottle of wine so a few of us joined in since it was nearing the end of the week. We chose a bottle of French Merlot (Clos La Coutale), which was surprisingly tasty (as I am not a huge fan of red wine in general). This ended up being a perfect complement to go with the fish and meats of the mains.
|Malber- Merlot from France|
|Kiymali Pide: Finely ground beef pizza blended with vegetables and topped with cheese|
|Tavuk Sis Kebab: chicken kebabs|
|Kilic Baligi Kebab: swordfish kebabs|
|Adana Kebab: a Turkish kebab made with spicy beef|
For dessert, we all decided to share an order of baklava and a bowl of cold rice pudding. One of the highlights of the night was definitely the baklava. This delectably sweet Turkish dessert, made up of layers of pistachios, phyllo pastry, walnuts, and honey syrup, was the perfect note to end a great meal on. The crisp pastry broke apart and melted in your mouth and the nuts added a nice crunchy texture. Unlike most baklava, which has a chewy texture when biting into, this baklava broke off with easy upon each bite.
The cold rice pudding, or Firin Sutlac in Turkish, resembled any other normal pudding that can be found on the shelves of any grocery store. I was not a huge fan of the rice pudding. Most of the time, rice pudding is too sweet and overwhelms the entire dish, but this rice pudding was creamy and not overly sweet. Although the flavor was good, I did feel that the rice was slightly undercooked as there was too much of a chew to it. This texture did not leave a pleasant feel or aftertaste on my palate.
Overall, the service at Sofra was nothing more than average, at best. The waitress tried to be friendly but she came off more annoying than anything else. The atmosphere at Sofra was lively and the decor added a nice cultural aspect to the dining experience. Maybe it was the bottle of wine talking or maybe it was the good company, but the entire night was definitely surprising (in a good way!).
But by the end of the night, Judy had a few too many glasses of wine and was so starstruck by the owner (as she had seen him on the show) that he offered her a free order of Baklava to go. As quick as it came into her hands, it was gone even before we walked out the door. But it was a very nice gesture. The food, the atmosphere and the experience lead me to say that I will definitely be back to Sofra Authentic Turkish Cuisine again. I haven't been to many Turkish restaurants in Edmonton, but I suspect Sofra is one of the better ones.
|Dinner menu at Sofra|
|Drink menu at Sofra|
Top Picks of the Night: Tavuk Sis Kebabs and Baklava