Istanbul Turkish Cuisine

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Istanbul interior

I headed up to Lake Mary to visit a familiar space, the one at 7025 County Road 46A that has been home to various restaurants in the center’s relatively short life. Most recently we were here for the fleeting Finesse.

Now it is Istanbul, another in the ever-growing line of Turkish restaurants that have opened in the area recently. Is Turkish the new Thai?

I visited just once, for a quick bite review, but I’m not chomping at the bit to go back. The surroundings are pleasant -- not much seems to have changed from the previous owners -- and while the staff didn’t go out of their way to make one feel welcome they did their jobs well enough.

But the food elicited merely a shrug -- neither poorly executed nor extraordinarily done. But when the price is taken into consideration, there isn’t much to recommend.

Istanbul cabbageI chose the stuffed cabbage, which was offered as a lunch special. That means that instead of the usual price (which, don’t quote me -- and I’ll tell you why in a moment -- was something like $11.95) it was available at $9.95. So I got two rather smallish rolls for almost five bucks each. Inside was a mixture of rice and meat, the latter billed on the menu as lamb. However, it was so mildly flavored that it might as well have been plain beef. I detected nothing lamby about it. The plate was presented prettily enough, with the cabbage rolls sitting in a sauce of roasted red peppers and decorated with a white sauce that shall remain unnamed.

The red lentil soup that I had ordered as a starter was also unremarkable, a smooth broth more rich in color than in flavor. And at $4.95 a true disappointment.

My survey of the food is too small to be condemning, but I’m not sure much would change after a tableful of food. I could be wrong; I’ve been before.

Istanbul soupIf you’ve been to Istanbul Turkish Cuisine and think I should give it another try, leave a comment below. I’ll go back. Otherwise, I’ll just wait for the next tenant, perhaps one that understands if you’re going to charge a lot of money for food, it should be worth it.

Istanbul Turkish Cuisine is at 7025 C.R. 46A, Lake Mary. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. Here is a link to the website, which is one of the most ridiculously designed restaurant sites I've encountered in the history of restaurant websites. It has lavish photographs and evocative music (because we all go directly to restaurant websites when we feel like listening to some music, right?). But if there is any information embedded within the site -- including the address, the phone number, the hours of operation -- I was unable to find it. A server assured me the full menu was online, but I could not find it. And that's why I can't be sure of the original price of the overpriced "special" cabbage rolls. The phone number that is missing from the website is 407-333-0733.

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