Sunday, June 29, 2008

Anatolia Turkish Restaurant

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Anatolia Turkish Restaurant
48 White Bridge Road

There are plenty of Mediterranean mash-up restaurants in Nashville. They combine Greek, Syrian, Lebanese, Turkish and even Italian. While it’s fun to be able to take in so many options in one menu, all those choices usually mean a lack of depth. Nashville could use more restaurants that specialize in those various cuisines. Luckily Anatolia has Turkish food well represented. They’ve been in operation for about five years now in the Lion’s Head Village strip mall on White Bridge Road. Inside you’ll find a homey, welcoming dining room and a friendly, knowledgeable staff.

Dinner starts with olive oil poured into a plate of spices: paprika, dried thyme, a little red pepper. It’s a zippy dip for the squishy, moist white bread. You can spot the quality at Anatolia in the sampler platter appetizer. The grape leaves are fresh and firm; filled with pine nuts, raisins and rice. So many places serve mushy stuffed grape leaves. It’s nice to see a crisp, clean version. The rose petal jam goes well with the fillo dough roll. The hummus is tangy and savory.
The entrees take you into Turkish specialties like Roasted Chicken, Turkish Stew, Roasted Lamb and eggplant stuffed with lamb. They have several vegetarian options including Guvec, a veggie stew, and stuffed eggplant and Artichokes. The grill brings a variety of kabobs and lamb chops. One item we’ll need to try later is called Manti, basically a Baked Turkish Ravioli of sorts filled with ground beef and in a garlic-yogurt sauce.

The Meat Eater went with the Chicken Stew which arrives covered in mozzarella cheese and a sauce. It looks a bit like a Turkish version of French onion soup. Inside you find sautéed chicken, onions, peppers, potatoes and carrots. The flavorful broth waits at the bottom of the crock making for real comfort food, perhaps best in colder weather, but still welcome even on this 90 degree day.

Veggie Eater: Anatolia does have a limited veggie entrée menu. None of those items really seemed to be what I was looking for on this night, so I opted for the salad and the sampler platter. The grape leaves were wonderful; the rice was moist without being gooey; anything with pine nuts is a winner to me. The fillo dough roll was unexpected; a different type of fillo than what you normally encounter with Greek dishes, such as spanokopita and baklava. The hummus was good, but not great. The Shepherd salad is loaded with cucumbers and sprinkled with feta; it was very fresh. My biggest gripe about the salad was that there was only 1 lone olive; seems like for $5.95 per salad, they could pop for a few more olives. What I really liked most is that my conception of Turkish food was that it was essentially akin to Middle Eastern or Greek food; although it certainly belongs to the same family of cuisine, it is really quite unique. I will happily return in an effort to expand my knowledge about another culture and its cuisine.

Meat Eater: We paid a total of $45 with tax and tip. We’ll be back again soon. We’d love to see more specialty places in Nashville. If we could order up by country: Lebanese and Syrian would be a good start. See our review of Genie’s Persian Palace under the Middle Eastern category.
Anatolia on Urbanspoon


Ed King said...

After 7 years, it's finally been settled in my mind. ANATOLIA is my favorite restaurant on this planet. Been a regular since '03 and I've never been let down.

Outstanding food AND service...and what a CLEAN PLACE THIS IS. I'd tell you what my favorite dish is but I won't because they've been known to run out of it at times.

I will say this: Order the kunefe for dessert. And first you need to stop at Mr. Whiskers across the street to get a small bottle of Amaretto. You'll need it. Pour some on. This is a dessert that you will have DREAMS ABOUT.

Eric and Katie said...

That's funny Ed, I never thought about importing my own liqueur! Anatolia seems to be one of those places that just keeps quietly turning out great food.