I love seeing culturally diverse restaurants pop up in varied areas of town. So I was pleased to see Zeytin Turkish Cuisine open on Edgewater Drive just east of Lake Fairview and within sight of the Orange County VFW.
Zeytin is a small buisiness in a free-standing building, the former site of Woody’s Italian American Grill and Woody’s Wings & Whatnot. Woody’s gone.
Zeytin has a menu that belies its size, with myriad hot and cold appetizers, assorted Turkish pides (flatbreads), kebabs and sautés. It looks like an ambitious set of offerings but most are variations on the same theme.
I started with the Ezogelin, a red lentil soup flavored with spices such as paprika, black pepper and perhaps a bit of mint. The soup, whose name translates to the bride Ezo, was finely pureed but not so that the lentils and the bulgur that was also likely added made it thick. A tinge of tomato and it was one fine spoonful after another.
For my entree I selected the Lamb Et Sote, or sauté. It had small cubes of lamb with diced green bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes with garlic and other seasonings. It was served with a small timbale of rice (it could have been a huge timbale and I’d still call it small — I like lots of rice). The meat had the appropriate amount of chew that you would expect from lamb, and the seasonings were all perfectly balanced. The dish had a wonderful house-made feel.
I don’t think it warranted its $19.95 fee, however. There just didn’t seem to be that much to it.
And its not like the surroundings justify higher prices. Overall it has the feel of a place that might serve wings. Or even whatnots. however, I did like the brocaded banquette cushions and matching bolsters that along with light fixtures and framed photos gave it a Turkish appeal. One diner nearby apparently thought the bolsters were to be used as pillows and had stretched out on the banquette. I’m pretty sure that’s not what you’re supposed to do, but I’ll admit I don’t know all of the Turkish dining customs. And it became apparent that she was sitting with someone from the restaurant — either a staff person or an owner — so I assume she would have been admonished if it was considered untoward.
My server was pleasant but seemed overwhelmed by the three tables she was dealing with, which constituted the entire patronage during my visit.
There were long waits that didn’t seem necessary. I guess I could have just stretched out and taken a nap.
Zeytin Turkish Cuisine is at 4439 Edgewater Drive, Orlando (just north of Fairbanks Avenue). It is open for dinner daily. It is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Despite what is printed on the sign out front, there does not appear to be a working website at this time. the phone number is 407-988-3330