It's here! What you’ve been waiting for since last year! The surprise dish that I wouldn’t mention in my previous post! It’s… a pide!!! There you go. You can relax now. I know, it was hard waiting.
So what’s a pide (to my knowledge, pronounced “PEE-duh”, with the “duh” being someone subtle), anyway? The easiest way to explain it is it’s Turkish pizza. The website for I-Cafe Sukur’s Place describes the pide and the lahmacun (“LAH-mah-coon”), the pide's younger cousin, thusly: “A lahmacun for Turks is like a burger for Americans. They eat lahmacun for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Pide is like an open-top calzone. Fresh baked Turkish-style pizza with varieties of filling.”
First off, the burger-lahmacun analogy made me laugh. I’m pretty the restaurant was saying that lahmacun is very common in Turkey the way burgers are common here, but it came off like Americans eat burgers three times a day. That’s funny and probably does exist somewhere, because America. Anyway, the lahmacun is like a flatbread. It’s thin and topped with a spiced mix of beef and lamb as well as onion and some green and red peppers. It’s baked up and then served with tomato, onion, parsley, and lemon. This is almost like a snack, given how light it is, and it’s individually priced like a starter at I-Cafe. It’s only $3.50.
The pide, which is what I got, is the heftier dish. The pizza analogy and the calzone analogy are both apt. It’s like a calzone because the dough is thicker and smooth and sort of surrounds the toppings, but it’s also like a pizza because it’s ultimately open-faced and sliced up for you. The pide is more oval-shaped than round and it’s cut into strips. The toppings share some similarities with American pizza but certainly not all the way there. You can get sucuk ("SUCK-itch"? I'm guessing), which is Turkish beef pepperoni. You can also get mozzarella cheese on the pides. Past that, things are different. The most popular pide in Turkey is the ground beef, lamb, and onion combo called klymali. This is what I ordered, with cheese (you can get it with or without cheese -- the more authentic is probably without). There’s also chicken and cheese, pastrami and cheese, beef and cheese, veggie and cheese (peppers, onion, eggplant, zucchini), and you can get a feta cheese with chopped parsley pide as well. Further, you can add cooked egg to any of these pides for a buck (which you should obviously do). So I typically order the klymali and cheese along with egg. My wife gets the feta and egg. One final big difference is there's no other pizza sauce, like on American pizzas. It's the meat, veggies, and the cheese.
Unsurprisingly, the pides satisfy in the same way pizza satisfies. They’re hearty, a little greasy, robust, and very tasty. If you eat them at the restaurant there are red pepper flakes or a red pepper sauce topping to add for some oomph. When my wife and I lived in North Center the pides from here were a staple for us. And when I said hearty, I meant it. You get a pide to yourself when you order, but don’t be surprised if you have leftovers. The meat, cheese, and dough in every bite is plentiful and filling, so you’ll be stuffed (like I always am) if you finish the whole thing. Oh, and since the place is open late (4am weeknights, 5am weekends), if you decide to treat yourself to a night on the town and need some preventive hangover late night food, this is an excellent choice.
Hopefully me holding back on what I got on my last post allowed for a little bit of extra discovery. Most Turkish food can pretty clearly relate broadly to Mediterranean food, but nowhere else but Turkey (and obviously Italy and the U.S.) does a pizza-like dish spring to mind for me. The next time you’re thinking pizza and you’d like to try something different, check out I-cafe Sukur’s Palace. Pide pide!
Filed under: Menu Item Analysis