Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rondo A La Turca


The plan was to rendezvous at Sai Jai for dinner in the Tenderloin district. All the excitement was deflated when we were informed that we can't open any wine because they have no alcohol license. Bummer. We were already seated so it was not easy to let--I had the famous grilled pork shoulder on the menu locked in my head--but we had to get up and move on. The thought of not having a drop of wine with dinner was an impossibility.

But where to go next?

My buddy, Henry, a true Boy Scout, suggested a Turkish place on the parallel block. He walked out to do a reconnaissance, then ten minutes later he called and got us a table, adding they have a TV with a futbol game on. Our brief hike traversing cannabis-infused Larkin made me even hungrier.


A La Turca is a relaxed, homey place, clean and expansive for the Tenderloin. The open kitchen consists of a commercial pizza oven, where they do the grilling and an electric gyro rotisserie behind the pastry and cold counter.

We ordered a variety of appetizers that disappeared quickly: baba ganouj, grilled carrots, fried egg rolls (sigara), grilled eggplant, etc. It seemed every plate was either slathered in or accompanied by a yogurt mint sauce. They were all delicious and had a cooling taste, which was good after a warm day.

My mains was a platter of the lamb shish (about $16). Tender and juicy chunks of grilled leg of lamb with rice pilaf and salad and, you guessed it, yogurt mint sauce.

All along I've been drinking the incredibly fresh and youthful 2007 Francois Chidaine Vouvray Clos Baudoin. It is one of the greatest Vouvrays, equaled or surpassed only by Huet's Le Mont. A customer ordered our last 2 bottles, but before we could ship the order he called to cancel. He said a bottle he purchased in Georgia, imported by no less than Louis/Dressner, tasted dead to him when opened recently. He didn't want to risk it. Well, a customer's loss is my gain. This bottle that almost shipped to him was pristine, bone-dry, mineral, and perfect in every way. If anything, it was still infanticide to open it at this juncture. I'm going to keep the other bottle.


A La Turca Restaurant
869 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA
415.345.1011


Note: There's no more 2007 Francois Chidaine Vouvray Clos Baudoin, but there's a few more of the 2009 Francois Chidaine Vouvray Clos Baudoin. If people aren't fast enough I might usurp all or some of these bottles.

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