Charlottesville’s restaurant scene is very welcoming and open to new ideas. That was the reason five years ago for long time friends Denis Dikmen and Serhat Peker to set up what was missing in town, a Turkish corner, called Sultan Kebab. A perfect place for a laid-back delicious meal and perhaps to just have a strong Turkish coffee or tea with homemade baklava.
The two friends came to Charlottesville to intern in a luxurious Relais Chateaux ten years ago and were fascinated by the local people, the quality of life, the international culture, the art festivals and so on. “People here are educated and most of them have travelled to Turkey, so they come willing to have a kind of experience that resembles their memories. And that is what we love to do,” explains Dikmen, front room manager.
Sultan Kebab brings succulent, authentic recipes from southern and western Turkey, a rich crossroad between Europe and Asia. “Yogurt is very important to us and we make it in-house every couple of days from local cow’s milk from Charlottesville,” noted chef Peker. To start, refreshing cold appetizers like Kisir (bulgur tabbouleh), Cacik (dressed cucumber and yogurt) or baba ghanoush (creamy eggplant dip). Then some hot starters like the hummus casserole (with melted cheddar on top) or the lahmacun (thin and crispy Turkish pizza with beef, veggies and herbs) are top picks. And of course the kebabs are the stars. Platters of Kofte (ground beef) kebab and chicken or lamb shish kebab will satisfy several hungry people and come with salad, rice, hummus and pita bread. In addition, a good array of interesting salads and sandwiches are available, suited for a faster lunch.
If you manage to not be too stuffed, it is worth trying the desserts: künefe (shredded phyllo baked with fresh mozzarella and syrup) and the famous baklava sweets (nuts and phyllo pastry) served with ice cream, are delicious. However a curvy cup of Turkish tea or Turkish coffee are a really authentic way to finish the meal and maybe a chance for you to read the coffee sediments and discover you fortune.
hours: Mon-Sun 11am-9pm
Text&Photo: Edu Bayer