Lentil Soup with Mint; Köfte Kebab: succulent beef patties seasoned with turkish spices flame-broiled and served with rice; Kebab Combo: grilled lamb, chicken breast, lamb chop, and köfte kebab
Occupation: Youth Worker
Favorite Restaurant: New Kapadokia
Reviewed New Kapadokia: Saturday February 9, 2008
After years of literally dreaming of recreating the Turkish culinary experience I had grown to love, having lived in Turkey for two years, my wife and I accidentally happened upon New Kapadokia two years ago on our way home from an art show. Just the name, New Kapadokia, shot me right back to my early teenage years, trekking through Kapadokia during a week-long Thanksgiving bus trip. I will spare you the details of that trip and encourage you to read the brief, yet extremely accurate description of the Kapadokia region of Turkey which can be found in their menu and on their website, but needless to say, the trip was fantastic.
The atmosphere of New Kapadokia is simple, casual, and intimate. Everything from the glass cases filled with various copper effects and hookahs, to the decorative plates on the walls screamed, “Turkey!” There is nothing pretentious or stuffy about this place, they want you to come as you are and bring the whole family. This is my kind of place! When my wife and I arrived, New Kapadokia was hoppin’ with a diverse and friendly crowd of smiling and laughing faces, including the staff.
Mmm, my sense of smell kicked in, and I couldn’t wait to get another taste of that Turkish cuisine. Frankly, I already new what I wanted, I didn’t need to look at the menu. If this was any kind of self respecting Turkish establishment, they would have my favorite Turkish dish, Köfte Kebab, simple miniature beef patties seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, parsley, and, I am convinced, a bit of lemon that gives it a pleasantly distinct tart flavor. Guess what -- they had it, and it was good and “flamed broiled to perfection”! I started out the evening with Sigara Böregi, yep as in "it looks like a cigar," but it’s basically (for lack of a better description) a Turkish spring roll filled with feta cheese and potato, wrapped in filo dough. I then polished off a true Turkish Salad, made with cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, and their delicious lemon and olive oil vinaigrette on small bed of romaine lettuce; it was almost enough to make me give up meat (almost). Everything was fantastic. But then there was that issue of dessert. Again, I knew what I wanted (baklava), but I just had to see the selection, so our server brought the platter filled with a variety of desserts mostly in the filo dough genre. I just kept staring at the baklava, pointed at it and told him, "That’s the one." As we waited for our dessert, we were entertained by the Turkish tea, as small glasses of tea were swung 360° around on a metal plate hanging from small metal chains by servers; I haven’t seen them spill a drop yet. Oh, and it should be of no surprise that the baklava was fantastic.
That’s it; I was full, happy and ready to do it again. The portions were generous enough for a man of my generous proportions. I ended up taking some of my main dish home, in fact. When asked about ingredients and preparation, the serving staff was very knowledgeable and seemed excited to share the information. The price of the dishes was extremely respectful to mine and my wife’s wallets being those of a youth worker and teacher. I would and have recommended this restaurant to family and friends, and will continue to do so. If you are looking on taking a trip to Turkey, but don’t want to bother with the long flights, New Kapadokia in Redwood City will get you there way quicker and with way less jetlag.
Occupation: Exploratorium Teacher-in-Residence
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Aperto
Reviewed New Kapadokia: Saturday February 2, 2008
The restaurant was a delightful and friendly place with tasty food. This was a family run restaurant where the waitstaff worked very hard to make you feel part of their family and it succeeded. Turkish hospitality prevailed. The restaurant was small, but you did not feel cramped. In contrasts to too many new San Francisco restaurants, the sound level was great. Just enough ambient noise to give you a sense of community, but the level always permitted unstrained conversation.
The walls had art works and photographs from Turkey, and the dishes where not your ubiquitous white porcelain plates. The plates, cups, glasses, and even the beer mugs (copper), were not of this culture. You did get the feeling that you were no longer in the Bay Area.
The food, also, was not your average Mediterranean food. We frequent many Turkish restaurants in the Bay Area, and this had items on the menu we had never seen before. First we ordered our drinks, Turkish tea for my wife and Turkish beer for me. The tea was brought out by our very nice waitress. The tea was suspended on a platter held by three chords. Being a science teacher, I told the waitress that she could do a great centrifugal force experiment with her tray. She then proceeded to twirl the tray with drink on top completely upside down. She had obviously done her physics homework. Very entertaining! My beer in the copper mug was very good. I think it was a Pilsner.
The appetizers were displayed on a large platter by another waitress, a friend of the family who was helping out that evening. We chose a spread made up of many spices, tomatoes, and green peppers. This paste was then spread on this wonderful Turkish leavened bread. Next, the best lentil soup I have ever had was served. It was extremely spicy, which was a pleasant surprise. My wife had a vegetable lamb stew called sebzeli guvec, amazing! My dish was adana kebab, a spicy beef kabob on delicious rice pilaf. My dish was very good, my wife’s dish was exceptional! For dessert we had baklava. Yummy!
We really liked the restaurant, and if it was closer, we would definitely go more often. My only problem is that compared to most Turkish restaurants we have gone to in the Bay Area, it is a little pricier. Having said this, after leaving the restaurant, we wanted to book a flight for Turkey.
Occupation: Art Director
Favorite Restaurant: Masa's
Reviewed New Kapadokia: Tuesday February 19, 2008
New Kapadokia is a Bay Area gem that is not to be missed. We really enjoyed our meal here.
We stopped in without reservations on a Tuesday night at about 7pm. We were warmly greeted by the owner, who seated us promptly. I could tell right away that it was a family-run business. The owner and his family were speaking Turkish in the back. The room was decorated with traditional Turkish decor (lots of "evil eyes") and photographs of Turkey. The walls had a lovely warm yellow on them; overall the feeling when you walk in is very nice.
Our meal was excellent. I had no idea Turkish food was this good. I overheard the owner explaining to another guest that Turkish food is considered to be among the best of all the cuisines in the world, and I think he could be right.
We started with appetizers, which were brought out on a tray for us to choose from. There was a wide assortment (about 10-12 different dishes ranging from hummus and baba ghanoush to eggplant or pepper salads, meat patties, dolmas and more). I expected the appetizers to have a "Greek" taste, as many of the ingredients/dishes were similar. But it was nothing like Greek food. We chose the Cevizli Ezme, which is a paste of walnuts, Turkish red pepper paste, and tomato paste mixed with fresh garlic, olive oil, and cumin. We ate this on the Turkish bread they served, and it was outstanding. A bit spicy and the flavor combinations were yummy!
From that we moved on to Lentil Soup and Turkish Salad. The soup was fantastic, wonderful flavors, including mint, that blended perfectly. The Turkish Salad was a chopped salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and spices. The vinaigrette dressing on it was particularly good, not at all heavy. I'm asking for the recipe when I go back.
For our main course, we both chose kebobs, which were mostly lamb. Mine had a lamb chop, some chicken, and meat patties as well. From the first bite, I thought, "whoever made this knows their way around a piece of meat," especially the lamb chop. All were perfectly cooked and seasoned, very tender and succulent. The vegetables and rice that accompanied both had great flavor, and were just right in terms of preparation. I've had so many overcooked, bland vegetables dishes in restaurants, it's nice to see someone getting it right. Also, I appreciated a healthy balance of ingredients in our meal.
Our waiter -- who had a nice way about him and was as friendly as the owner (his father?) -- suggested a red Turkish wine, saying, "You'll like it," with a wink. We did, it was a very smooth red that went very well with the meal. Next time I'll order a second glass.
For dessert, the owner's wife brought over a tray of desserts to choose from... we chose Baklava, which was excellent. Next time we'll be a little more adventurous as the other desserts looked just as good.
I finished the meal with a mint tea which was simply a few strands of bright green, fresh mint leaves in boiling water, served in a tiny clear glass on a saucer. It was dainty, and so fresh and really nice way to finish such a great meal. Be sure to get a coffee or tea, if you go...but find out why they twirl it around on the serving tray. I forgot to ask, and now I'm wondering!
I often expect meals at "ethnic" restaurants to be heavy and greasy. Along with the fact that this is really, really delicious food, I want to complement the chef for the healthy preparation. Our steamed vegetables were delicious, and all of the meat was perfectly cooked.
I had the impression that the owner is very proud of his Turkish heritage, and that is wonderful to see. I overhead him explaining the history of the region of Kapadokia in Turkey, the history of Turkish cuisine to another guest. You had the impression that he wanted to share this with his guests, and that just adds to the overall loveliness of the restaurant.
The restaurant is in downtown Redwood City, and I had no idea that the area was as cute as it is. The San Mateo County Courthouse is a beautiful structure, and there is a lot of other interesting historic architecture such as the Fox Theatre. It was too dark, rainy and late to walk around, but we both will come back for another delicious meal, and to tour the area. This would be a great location for a summer date/getaway, and we're looking forward to coming back when the weather is nice enough to visit the area a bit on foot.
Overall, I highly recommend giving New Kapadokia a try; I think most people will not be disappointed.