A little Turkish delight

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Lo-fi cozy.

TROY MEDITERRANEAN GRILL
2908 N. Broadway Ave.

Hello friends, and welcome to Just Pick a Place’s inaugural blog post! I was craving Turkish food this past weekend, so I dragged my brother to this place I found on Google, Troy Mediterranean Grill.  The web reviews were promising, I hadn’t eaten since 11 a.m., and I wanted lentil soup in a bad way. The fates rarely align in such an agreeable fashion.

FOOD 

My golden-standard for Turkish food is actually not even in Chicago – it’s a little place called Anatolia in Bloomington, Indiana, that I’ve been to twice in my life. It reminds me of my friends at Indiana University, and I love it dearly.

I’m sorry to report that Troy (my hip abbreviation from this point out) did not live up to Anatolia standards. That’s not to say the food didn’t hit its stride at points, though! Just not a consistent “wow.”

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Tea, which was solid but more importantly revived my hands from 30 degree weather.

First up, of course, was the lentil soup I wanted so badly. It did not disappoint – smooth and earthy and hitting all the right spice notes. It was on the expensive side for soup (see my note on price below), but I’m glad I went with it, because it was potentially the best part of the meal. Also, a fantastic dip for the bread they brought out before our meal…gotta love complimentary bread.

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My adana kebab, flanked by roasted veggies and a perfectly seasoned salad.

Jack (my brother) and I both ordered the adana lamb kebabs, opting to go with the cheaper single-kebab version of the dish. Mine came with rich, tomato-y bulgur, while Jack went for the side of white rice, and both included a small serving of salad.

The meat left something to be desired. I should be clear that I am not always a huge meat person – I’m picky about its texture – but I found this kebab entirely too sinewy for my tastes. It was grainy, almost, the kind that you can hear pop between your teeth as you chew. This is the kind of sensory experience that makes me shudder, and I could only get through about half before I surrendered the kebab to Jack. He ate it without hesitation. Maybe it was just me.

Everything else on the plate was fabulous. I think my choice of bulgur was a winner – the nuttiness played off the tomato sauce better than the comparatively bland white rice – and I’d never say no to a well-roasted slice of green pepper. But for me, the real star was the salad. I’m an acid fiend (no, not that kind), so this blend of tomato, onion, cucumber, lemon juice and spices was just the right amount of citric tart. I ate mine and Jack’s serving before anything else.

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My beloved soup.

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Jack boldly takes a knife-free approach. He is improper.

SERVICE

No complaints here. Amiable and conscientious servers, and our food was out in less than 20 minutes.

ACCESSIBILITY 

It took us about 12 minutes to walk there from the Wellington Brown Line stop – all things considered, not too bad. Might be too much of a haul on a less-than-20 degree day, though.

COST

Oof. Too damn high, for the portion size. I opened my menu and immediately winced – the main entrees cost upwards of $18, or nearly two hours of Chicago minimum wage work. Even my lentil soup was a little pricey at around $6, though it admittedly was more of a bowl than a cup serving. The main dish, though…pretty regular-sized. Shelling out for dinner isn’t so bad if you’re guaranteed leftovers the next day, but Jack and I scarfed down our meals in 10 minutes flat, not one morsel left to save.

Our bill was around $40 for two single-kebab adana platters, a single bowl of lentil soup, and tea.

ATMOSPHERE

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Check out that blue mood lighting.

Troy makes some passes at fanciness, with a faux fireplace and tapestries on the walls. It felt akin to your run-of-the-mill Italian place in the suburbs, with paper lining on the tablecloths and high-backed wooden chairs.

I’d say it overall hovers somewhere between semi-casual family dinner and date night territory. It’s the kind of place you could get dressed up for, if you felt like it, but jeans and a T-shirt work just as well. Nicely moldable for any occasion.

WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR

Appetizers with a group of four or more. They have a expansive menu of snacks – I was eyeing the cucumber-and-tomato Shepherd’s salad, in particular – and a little patio that opens in the summer.

WOULD I RETURN

Mm, that depends. For a full-out dinner, no. For appetizers? Maybe. But only if I’m in the area.

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