Those acquainted with Turkish food often think of kebabs and hummus, but Erol Hazar said it’s far more diverse, and when he opens Anatolian Table in the former Hina’s Tea space at 2319 K St. later this year, he wants to showcase the authentic cuisine of his homeland.
Turkey straddles the border of Europe and Asia, and Hazar – a native of Istanbul – said Anatolia is the name for the Asian section of the country, which makes up about 80 percent of the land mass.
“Turkish food is like Mediterranean food,” he said Friday. “It’s not too spicy, there’s nothing greasy, and there’s nothing cooked in a fryer. It’s all done on the grill or in the oven.”
Dishes such as tavuk guvec – a chopped chicken breast baked with vegetables and spices in a casserole dish and served with a side of rice – are staples of Turkish cuisine. Another dish to be featured in the restaurant is Manti, which is a Turkish meat ravioli made in-house and served with a garlic yogurt sauce.
Doner kebab and dishes such as salmon and halibut that are more widely known will also be served at Anatolian Table, Hazar said.
Lunch prices range from $6-$10, and dinner prices are from $10-$15.
One Turkish beer and six Turkish wines will be on the menu, and coffee imported from Turkey will be served in the traditional style.
“Everything is made from scratch,” Hazar said. “We make our own baklava and yogurt and other ingredients.”
He added that spices are imported, but he uses the abundant supply of fresh fruits and vegetables from Northern California.
The 1,600-square-foot space will hold between 40 and 50 diners, and two tables of four will be on an outdoor patio.
Hazar and his wife, Tugce, opened their first Anatolian Table location in Rocklin when they came to the United States five years ago. For the past two years, a second location in Sacramento has been a priority, and Erol Hazar said he is looking to add a third, bigger location in Sacramento.
Before coming to the United States, Hazar and his wife lived in England, and he said they have been in the restaurant business for about nine years.
The K Street restaurant will open at 11:30 a.m. and close at either 8:30 or 9 p.m. on weekdays, staying open later on weekends.
“We will be open late on Second Saturday,” Hazar said, “probably until midnight.”
Kimio Bazett, owner of the nearby bar The Golden Bear, said he’s happy to see a tenant taking the space.
“I’ve met him in the past through my landlord, and he’s a really nice guy,” Bazett said. “I’ve heard the food is really good, and I’m a huge fan of Mediterranean cuisine – Persian, Moroccan, Greek – it’s a really good flavor profile.”
He added that he hopes it brings more energy to the area and increases the block’s appeal. The same block also houses Rick’s Dessert Diner and The Plum Cafe and Bakery, formerly Sugar Plum Vegan.
Erol Hazar said he’s looking to bring a unique dining option to the area, which he said attracted him because of its location and the liveliness of Midtown.
“It’s a really unique restaurant,” he said. “It’s one of the most authentic Turkish restaurants in the country. We don’t Americanize the food.”
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