Chef Cebriel Demirtas came from New Jersey after family members landed at the highly regarded Pera Turkish Kitchen in north Dallas.
Now, the charming south-side cafe-rug shop serves a wide variety of Turkish and Mediterranean dishes, all in a wood-paneled 1950 home off West Magnolia Avenue.
The Flying Carpet launched two years ago to great hopes and quickly became a lunch-and-brunch favorite. It had good food but a limited menu, and diners found other Mediterranean cafes.
Demirtas’ menu is the complete opposite, with soups, salads, $9.95 lunch combos and more than 20 entrees, including four kebabs and the popular Turkish dishes with names such as “The Imam Fainted” or “The Sultan Was Pleased.”
A simple shredded salad with the restaurant’s lemon-olive oil house dressing showed unusually meticulous attention to detail, and a chicken kebab ($14.95) compared favorably with the more familiar version at restaurants like Terra Mediterranean Grill.
This was just a casual dinner, so there wasn’t time to try the Hünkar begendi (lamb stew on eggplant puree, the “sultan” dish) or the adana or döner kebabs.
But the mücver zucchini-carrot fritters (“pancakes”) made a good appetizer. (The menu also includes the more familiar falafel, tabbouleh, hummus and baba ghannouj.)
There’s baklava for dessert, but also künefe, a shredded-phyllo cheese dessert vaguely similar to Greeks’ ekmek custard.
Not just for holidays
The Omni Hotel’s Cast Iron buffet has become the busiest every holiday.
But Cast Iron also serves a weekday lunch and Sunday brunch buffet.
One day this week, Cast Iron’s $17 lunch included (1)grilled chicken or pork chops, (2) green or Caesar salad, (3)chips, hot sauce and guacamole and (4) a dessert bar with a choice of five desserts, including a chocolate bread pudding, apple tarts and red velvet cupcakes.
Compared to other $15-$17 lunches downtown with an added $5-$7 dessert, Cast Iron looks like a bargain. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, and a $28 brunch buffet is served Sundays.
The Mother’s Day brunch ($57) is booking up quickly. It features carved prime rib and rack of lamb, plus redfish, Rahr beer-roasted chicken and desserts.
Bud Kennedy’s column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com.