Photo by Brittany Claud
Turkey stands at the heart of the ancient world, with a cuisine that has been shaped by history, yet reflects modernity. A taste of that cooking can be found at Anatolia Grill, right off Route 10 just outside of the village of Chester.
The owner, Mustafa Ozkaya, is a native of Antioch, Turkey, who operated a restaurant in New York City before he met his wife, Zuhal, in 2009 and followed her back to Virginia. Anatolia's menu may seem similar to Arabic or Greek, but these dishes have a taste all their own. There are wonderful platters of lamb and chicken, accompanied by amazing crusty bread.
I recommend that you start with the mixed cold appetizers, small or large depending on the size of the group. The hummus is quite good, but the star of that show is the haydari, a dip of tomatoes, onion, fresh peppers, garlic, walnuts, tahini, olive oil and pomegranates. It's complex and addictive.
The Mix Grill (pictured) on the dinner menu is a bargain ($19.95, enough for two), tasty and intriguing. A selection of five different kebabs, it was delicious. The dressing on the salad was very fresh and not too sour. The sautéed lamb was tender, and the cross section of flavors was subtle and captivating.
During a lunch visit, the moussaka was unlike any I have had, but very pleasant. My buddy's döner kebab sandwich was tasty, though the sliced lamb was a little dry. We tried two house-made sauces, and the pepper sauce was wonderful.
Fortunately, we saved room for dessert. I inhaled the rice pudding, which was creamy, not gummy, and laced with vanilla — spot on. Then the künefe came out: shredded phyllo dough filled with fresh mozzarella cheese, topped with honey syrup and chopped pistachios. That alone was worth the drive.
12131 S. Chalkley Road, Suite A; 751-9157
Prices: Lunch sandwiches and entrées $4.45 to $7.95; dinner appetizers $5 to $12, entrées $11 to $20, desserts $4.50 to $7.95.
Hours: Open for lunch and dinner daily.