The Neon Signs are down; it appears that this place has closed.
I dated a Turkish girl for awhile, and I gained some appreciation for Turkish food. jump-->She lived down here at the time and I lived in NY and she always complained that she couldn't get good Turkish food here; We always had to go into NYC when she came up, because well, you can't get good Turkish food on Long Island either.
The name of this place caught my eye a few years ago, but I checked their menu and at the time they didn't have any real Turkish food on their lunch menu. Just some Turkish coffee and Baklava. So I stopped thinking about them. They now serve a full Turkish menu at lunch, so I decided to check give them a shot.
A big issue with this place is that it's as inconvenient to get to as any place in town; they're located in an office building that doesn't have any guest parking. And there isn't much parking on the street.
American Turkish Restaurant Parking
The only solution is to park at Publix and walk across; it seems unlikely that they'd actually tow a car for being parked for an hour at lunch time.
Inside is a bigger restaurant that I expected, with big vinyl booths along the walls. There was 1 other person in the place; as I mentioned, parking is a problem.
I promptly ordered a small Sherpard's Salad and Iskender Kebab, which confused my server who "had just started" and knew nothing about Turkish food. I had to point to the item on the menu as she copied it onto her pad.
I also ordered an iced tea with extra lemon, which was delivered with 1 slice. "Is that extra lemon", I asked. "Yes, but I'll get you more. I don't mind". Thanks.>
They have the bendy straws here. They also has some sort of printing burned into the plastic table covers, which frames the ambiance.
American Turkish Kitchen Iced Tea
It's not clear what time they close; they've let their website domain expire and they don't have hours on their Facebook page; my server went home at 2:15. People came in at 2:30 and were served. The "chef" does the serving after 2.
The salad came out first.
American Turkish Kitchen Small Shepard Salad
My initial thought was that the server messed up and didn't order the small salad, but this is in fact the small salad. Enough for 2, it's a veritable offering with a light dressing that didn't really stand out. I ate about half the salad and brought the rest home. Mostly just cucumbers and tomatoes with a lot of shaved feta. It's nice when they include fresh parsley and scallions, but this didn't have those ingredients.
The Iskender kebab came out; it's a big portion for $15.99.
American Turkish Kitchen Iskender Kebab
Usually this is garnished with a long pepper and grilled tomato; a picture on their Facebook page had this in a staged photo; which is one reason that I despise staged food photos. No matter, I was looking forward to digging in.
A simplified description of Iskender kebab is that it's doner kebab (Gyro meat) over pita bread with yogurt, topped with tomato sauce and butter. It sounds odd but when done right it's crazy good. The first time I ever had it was at the Turkish Kitchen in New York City; it's a wonderful dish.
Unfortunately, this wasn't very good. The meat wasn't spicy enough; Turkish doner is more well done than the Greek's, and this just tasted like well-done roast beef. The yogurt didn't taste like yogurt, and the tomato sauce just tasted like a bland sauce. The entire point of this dish is the butter; and they seemed to have left that out. A ladle of butter over this may have saved it. There should be some explosive flavors going on, and there was nothing like that happening with this dish.
It took forever to get my check, but they didn't charge me for the Iced Tea. They also serve breakfast here, but no Turkish Eggs on the menu.
I walked across the street, bought a few things at Publix and found that my car hadn't been towed.
With the leftovers, I mixed some melted butter with my favorite tomato sauce (LaFamiglia Tomato Basil Masterpiece), picked out the meat and made an omelet. It's amazing what a little butter can do. But the meat still wasn't very good.
Not much has changed in 10 years; you still can't get good Turkish food in Fort Lauderdale.