Thursday, January 12, 2012

Favorite Food Spots 2011 - instalment #1 - Saray Turkish Restaurant

Ok, I know I'm a little late for the look back on food in 2011, but as I scanned through my food photos from this year, there were a few great food spots I visited but never got the chance to share, so better late than never!

The menu at Saray is large. There is a great selection of cold appetizers (see photo above) which are on dsplay in the front case, such as baby eggplants stuffed with onion and garlic, red pepper and eggplant salad, hummus, and much more. The cold appetizer plate is great accompaniment to any meal (or a main course for vegetarians), although sadly, they no longer make one of my favorite spreads: muhamarah, a mix of walnuts, red pepper, pomegranate molasses and olive oil. The grill and bread oven at this large family friendly spot are always busy. Every meal is accompanied by their delicious hot, freshly made bread. Saray has a number of vegetarian dishes, and a few grilled fish items, but the most of the menu is packed with beef and lamb dishes: kebabs, ground meat, and shwarma style marinated/roasted and then sliced meat. I have found the ground meat and doner(shwarma) to be more flavorful than the cubed kebabs. While I don't generally eat meat that is not sustainably raised, I sometimes make exception for lamb, which I imagine (but do not know) is not as likely to be raised on feedlots as beef.

My favorite, and probably the most unhealthy dish on the menu is the Yogurtlu Doner Kebab - sauteed slices of marinated lamb and beef over hot buttered pieces of fresh bread topped with thick cool yogurt. 

Most of the main courses are served with the same simple side dishes of seasoned rice, grilled tomato and pepper, but the various spreads from the appetizer selection add more flavor, and as a whole it's a nice meal.
The tea and spiced Turkish coffee are always nice, and there is a large selection of Turkish desserts with many baklavah style sweets, and a wonderful light custard with burnt sugar resembling flan called Kazandibi. Saray is a fun restaurant suitable for small or large groups, a romantic meal, or a dinner with kids. The menu is large, the food is good, and I think they have live music on weekends. The restaurant is located at 770 Campbell Ave in West Haven, just off I-95, so any of you passing through the area, shouldn't hesitate to make a quick detour. 

Coming up:
Bharat Bazar - Indian Market - Orange, CT
Smorgasburg - Food "flea market" adventures - Brooklyn, NY

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