I often mention all the great recommendations I receive. Over the years, folks like "KenB" have always been spot on with their recs, and any moment I receive an email from them is a joyful one. Recently, Ken gave really strong scores to Sultan Kebab and Baklava. I'd passed the shop, when it was only a bakery several times (and Cathy has posted on the former restaurant at this location) on my drives in the area, but now they had a restaurant, and from what Ken told me, and excellent one. Also, this wasn't one of the many Iraqi-Chaldean restaurants in the area; but a Turkish one!
The owners of Sultan have taken over the space. I was interested in the large refractory oven....... which made me really look forward to the bread!
The folks here are very friendly.... the young man working the oven noticed my interest, and kindly showed me how it operated. He also tried to describe all of the delicious looking meze behind the counter! Same gentleman even made a recommendation when I mentioned how large and diverse the menu was.
I had a yogurt drink to start, while the Missus went with the Turkish Tea, which is free.....
The Missus, enchanted with the selection of vegetable dishes, went with the $10 combination, which came with a large piece of what we were told was "pide"..... crusty on the outside, featuring a nice soda flavor. It is quite substantial.
Here's the Missus combination plate.... which I happily tucked into as well.
Some items were real favorites with us; the spicy tomato-chili based dip which we were told was called something like "ismit", it had a nice kick. The mixture of feta and spices, the spicier version of the minced eggplant (the young ladies called both of them Babaganoush) without the yogurt, and the wonderful potato-eggplant-sweet pepper-tomato concoction called Saksuka, were also favorites.
The hummus had a bit too much tahini for our tastes and the while I enjoyed the Dolmalar, this one being the stuffed eggplant version, it was too heavy for the Missus.
Might I also mention the large, plate-sized, Lavas, warm, light, soft, with a mild chew. It slowly becomes more cracker-like as it cools.
I young man manning the oven recommended the Kuzu Sis ($13), basically skewered lamb, mildly seasoned.
The plate came with two salads, a typical pilaf, and a bulgur-thin pasta pilavi that had a nice nutty flavor. The lamb was nicely grilled, with a bit of chew, and pasted best when wrapped in some lavash with a dollop of the yogurt based dip.
The Missus also got some baklava to go...... I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but the Missus' favorite is the chocolate baklava.
I really couldn't wait to return; and I recently had another opportunity. PeterL, Ange, JohnL, and I decided that Sultan sounded like just the right thing. We started with a small meze combination.
PeterL and Ange shared the Kuzu Sis, and they also sampled (with John eagerly joining in) two of the Domalar....one zucchini, one eggplant.
John went with Kiymali Pide ($5), a seasoned ground beef topped a crunchy flat bread that had been brushed with egg. It reminded me of the Soujouk from Alforon.
With the bread being much more substantial and crusty.
I ordered the Adana Kebab, which was a winner......
This was right up my alley; moist and tender ground beef, sprinkled with tart, tangy sumac, seasoned with a nice variety of spices, along with some good heat from ground chilies....... I think I'll ordered this wrapped as a sandwich.... enrobed in a whole lavas would make this a perfect meal.
There's a lot to explore on the menu here; including the usual Doner and Iskender Kebabs, but items like Kellepaca (literally "head and feet") and a number of various meze and salads. I enjoy the friendly service, the prices aren't bad, and that really friendly young man in the kitchen will keep us coming back. The Missus enjoys the baklava from here; I was told that Turkish Baklava differs from other versions in that honey is not brushed on top of the baklava....instead a simple sugar syrup is applied. Being that I haven't yet been able to get a bite of it..... I'll just have to trust the Missus' opinion.
Sultan Kebab & Baklava
131 Jamacha Road
El Cajon, CA 92019
Open 10 - 11 Daily
Thanks for another great recommendation KenB!