The restaurant is sort of tucked away on the NE corner of 106th and 103 Avenue, and it was definitely a cold and windy walk that evening. Luckily we stepped into a brightly decorated, warm space, and were sat down immediately among a surprisingly large number of diners for a Wednesday evening. It turned out that Wednesday was their "re-opening" night after an annual two week vacation, and avid regulars had obviously missed the food.
There was only one server, in charge of both tables and the bar, working that evening, and she was clearly overwhelmed. However she did a good job moving between tables and answering any questions, and the owner, cooking in the open kitchen, was pitching in by entertaining the few tables nearest him.
Drinks were easy - they had Efes Pilsner and dark ($7 each) and neither of us could resist trying, so Charles went for the Pilsner and I for the latter. For food we decided to share the Walnut and Pepper dip ($11), Charles went for spiced meatballs ($19) and I went for the spiced Adana kebab ($20).
The beer turned out to be better with the food than on its own - the Pilsner was a little too sweet and I would have liked the dark to have a deeper flavour, but it did help with the slight spiciness of the dip. We both liked the richness the walnuts added to the dip, but I think the star was the made to order flat bread arranged around the plate, which was warm, buttery and crisp... the perfect comfort food (for me at least!) on a cool evening.
Our mains came out quickly after our empty dip bowl was taken away. Both plates looked exactly the same (as below) except for the meat substitutions. I really enjoyed my kebab - it wasn't too spicy, and was full of flavour. The meatballs were similarly enjoyable, and after trying a bit of the kebab, Charles said he would go for them again. Both of us liked the bulgur pilaf that came along with our meals. It was a little bit spicy, but was a welcome change from rice.
Like the beer, dessert was also an easy choice after hearing a few favourable comments from tables around us about the Baklava ($8). I also decided to try a Turkish coffee ($4), my first, and on the advice of our server it was made with little sugar to take a bit of the bitter edge off.
The other diners were right, the Baklava was great. It wasn't too heavy on the honey or the pastry, which meant it was nice and crisp. The coffee was also really nice - a bit sandy at first sip, but smooth and rich afterwards. Finally, instead of mints at the end of our meal, we were given two cubes of Turkish delight, which we both agreed was a nice touch.
Although the location is a bit out of our way, we will definitely be heading back... I won't be able to resist that bread for too long.
Sofra Turkish Cuisine
108-10345 106 Street(780) 423-3044
Hours: Tues through Sunday from 5PM until close
BTW: We ended up making the "risotto" on Thursday and it turned out well. We added the mushrooms just after the onion to brown them a bit, and we used some left over shallot instead of onion, and it was fine. We just had a bit of salad with the vinaigrette David Lebovitz posted and a bit of Parmesan, and it was a lovely dinner to round out my first week back in class.