Yesterday was my birthday (yeah, yeah, I know - yay me) and in honor of making it fifty years without serious mishaps I decided to go celebrate. Being a contrary sort, I treated my immediate family to dinner.
I chose the Bosphorus Turkish Kitchen, in Lakeland on South Kentucky Avenue.
There were two Turkish restaurants in Lakeland; one of them, the Istanbul, has gone bust. I was resolved to try out the Bosphorus before anything happened to it as well.
The place is small and cozy, and run by a single family. The cook, an older man, came out from the kitchen to welcome us and help his son get us seated.
We started with appetizers: Lavas, hummus, and fried feta cheese rolls. Lavas is bread, made fresh on the premises and cooked when you order it. It's topped with sesame seeds and a drizzle of butter, and came to us piping hot from the oven and puffed up high. You're supposed to tear it up, and the dough is soft, sweet and chewy. The hummus was very tasty, flavored with garlic and olive oil, and the bread only got better as you dipped it in the chickpea spread. The feta cheese rolls are the staff's answer to mozzarella rolls - seasoned feta, wrapped in phyllo and fried. Tasty.
Now time for the main course!
I ordered the Special Chicken Adana for $14.99. What I got was wonderful - chopped chicken mixed with spices and cheese, cooked on a skewer and served on a bed of rice, with a green salad sharing the plate with it. The dressing on the salad was tasty, but the chicken! The chicken was perfectly seasoned and delicious.
My brother had the lamb Adana Kebab. The lamb, prepared pretty much the same way as the chicken, had a nice spicy kick to it (we swapped a bite each of our entrees). My mother had the Iskender Kebab, a nice combination platter that featured chicken and lamb doner (a mixture of lamb and spices, shaved off a rotating mass as it roasts).
Dessert consisted of one order of Kunefe, shared between me and my brother. Kunefe is phyllo, shredded very fine and baked with unsalted cheese, then topped with ground pistachios and sweet syrup. Very tasty and rich.
Drinks? I had a glass of Yakut Kavaklidere, a full-bodied red with a bit of oak to it and a solid finish. It made an excellent counterpoint to the chicken. Dessert was served with Turkish coffee, which came in a small cup and lived up to the old proverb that coffee must be "black as night, hot as hell and sweet as love."
I give the Bosphorus Turkish Kitchen four stars. The staff are attentive and friendly, the setting is clean, and the food is well worth the trip and reasonably priced (the most expensive single item is the Mixed Grill, at $19.99). Parking may require a bit of a walk, but you'll need a bit of exercise after dinner anyway.
Check the place out when you're in Lakeland!