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#1
Posted February 2nd 2013, 9:24pm
Today we went for lunch at Pide ve Lahmacun after finding out about it versus this forum and the Chicago Reader article written just yesterday. It is right next to the Irving Park Brown Line station on the north end of the street. Small place with 4 tables (8 seats) but it's nice and casual. The owners of this place own the place (I Cafe) next door which is also pretty much Turkish and a cabbie hang out (it's open until 5am at least on the weekends). Pide ve Lahmacun, as the name would indicate, specializes in Turkish "Pizza." For those of you who don't know Turkish, the "c" in the language is actually a "j" or "g" sound, so you pronounce it as "Lahk mah joon." I do wish the owners of the place would somehow put "Turkish Pizza" on the outside of their place, or something like that. A lot of people in the US don't know what lahmacun or pide is, but they would find the flavors very familiar in my opinion.

Who we found out later to be one of the owners was up front and very, very nice. Very hospitable. We found out that since they own the place next door, pretty much anything can be ordered at either side. So if there's nowhere available to sit at this new place, go next door and order if there's open seats. It should be noted that I Cafe is cash only, but Pide ve Lahmacun accepts credit card via Square.

The menu consists of a handful of different types of Pide (Americans would find this more similar to pizza than Lahmacun), Lahmacun (regular and with the salad on top), a few salads, a few soups (like lentil soup), and drinks such as coffee, teas, soda, fruit juice (bottled), Ayran, and Salep. FYI, ayran is a traditional Turkish drink that's like yogurt or buttermilk. It of course goes great with the lahmacun usually and is refreshing together, but I'd caution anyone who does not like yogurt or is not used to the sourness of yogurt or buttermilk about ordering it. I find that for a lot of Americans it is an acquired taste. Salep is also a traditional Turkish drink that was popular before the rise of tea and coffee. It is made using flour made by a tuber related to orchids, and with milk. It's in a way similar to Horchata but with a slightly weaker flavor, but hot.

To start, we ordered one lahmacun and one Sucuk Pide, along with a cup of iced coffee, Ayran, and Salep. Sucuk (pronounce Soo Jook) is a Turkish sausage that is commonly eaten at breakfast. It's kind of like a thick pepperoni but a little different taste (like a Merguez). We also ordered an iced coffee, salep, and ayran. To eat lahmacun, a lot of people will basically put the parsley (sometimes arugula, but not here), tomato, and onion on top, squeeze lemon on top and kind of roll it up. The lahmacun took about 5 minutes to make while the pide typically takes about 15-20 minutes.

Everything was great. The lahmacun, at $3.50, is a great deal for a good sized snack. The pide was more like $12. The bread was great and golden, the sausage was great tasting, and the cheese of course was melted and gooey. The sucuk was both on the outside of the pide and on the inside of some slices. Good stuff all around. The salep was also pretty good as was the ayran (but ayran is usually a packaged drink, but they did serve it in a real glass for me). I liked the lahmacun enough to order a second after eating all of this. My girlfriend though the iced coffee was great too. Simple but good.

All in all, everything was great. Very casual but good. The lahmacun, sucuk pide, ayran, iced coffee, and salep cost us $22.50 after tax. My second lahmacun was a little more than $3.50 after tax. They also have other things like kazandibi (milk custard dessert), some Turkish samosas, and they also have a cooler full of drinks like bottled water, coke, etc. Great if you get off the stop and need one of those to drink.

I recommend this place especially if you like flatbread style pizzas (i.e. lahmacun) or gooey cheese pizza (pide), or just lookingn for a cup of salep or ayran. Remember I Cafe next door has more seating and is owned by the same owners.

Pide ve Lahmacun
1812 W. Irving Park (Next to Irving Park Brown Line)
773-248-6344
Mon-Sat 7 AM to 7 PM
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#2
Posted February 3rd 2013, 1:42am
Sounds wonderful. I discovered both pide and ayran while traveling in Turkey a few years ago, and I enjoyed both tremendously. (Though I've always loved buttermilk, so didn't need to develop a taste for ayran.) It's nice to know about a place where these tasty items can be obtained for a reasonable price.

It also made me smile to remember that arugula came with almost everything in Turkey. I'd almost forgotten that little detail until you mentioned arugula.
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#3
Posted February 3rd 2013, 2:12am
Cynthia wrote:Sounds wonderful. I discovered both pide and ayran while traveling in Turkey a few years ago, and I enjoyed both tremendously. (Though I've always loved buttermilk, so didn't need to develop a taste for ayran.) It's nice to know about a place where these tasty items can be obtained for a reasonable price.

It also made me smile to remember that arugula came with almost everything in Turkey. I'd almost forgotten that little detail until you mentioned arugula.


It's all wonderful isn't it? You can get things like lahmacun at other Turkish restaurants (haven't seen Pide though?) in the city, but this place actually specializes in it whereas other places have it as an afterthought since most Americans aren't familiar with it versus other dishes such as....Kebap. It's a good concept, at least so far, since the flavors are in fact familiar to Americans mostly. They just have to be educated about what "lahmacun" and "pide" actually is. I think most people would be open to trying it for sure.


The argula thing is great and reminds me that Turkish food is SO much more than what a lot of people unfamiliar with it think. The stereotype is all types of lamb, meat on a stick, and what not. In reality, the cuisine is so much more refined than that. I was amazed to see, when I was in Turkey, how many vegetables, fruits, etc they use in their foods. Everything was so incredibly fresh and at that it was cheap. I was never a big fan of eggplant, but then the Turkish Airlines flight served a great dish, then I had it a few times in Istanbul, and then had a cooking class featuring eggplant. The stuff is amazing when done right. I haven't had it even close to as good as that in America, but I am still searching. It really made me jealous of how cheap they have everything though, considering they're one of the few net exporters of the world - most things in their cuisine are actually grown in their country. So many people looked incredibly healthy and attractive, it really surprised me.
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#4
Posted February 3rd 2013, 12:16pm
marothisu wrote:You can get things like lahmacun at other Turkish restaurants (haven't seen Pide though?)

Turkish Cuisine in Andersonville makes excellent pide in many varieties (including my favorite, pastirma).

Looking forward to checking this place out. Thanks for the review.
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#5
Posted February 3rd 2013, 1:20pm
cilantro wrote:Turkish Cuisine in Andersonville makes excellent pide in many varieties (including my favorite, pastirma).


Ah yes. Thanks for reminding me :)
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#6
Posted February 3rd 2013, 5:50pm
cilantro wrote:
marothisu wrote:You can get things like lahmacun at other Turkish restaurants (haven't seen Pide though?)

Turkish Cuisine in Andersonville makes excellent pide in many varieties (including my favorite, pastirma).

Looking forward to checking this place out. Thanks for the review.


Seconded - I never would have known about this place.
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#7
Posted April 14th 2013, 12:26am
ABC7's Steve Dolinsky did a feature about them you can watch here:

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/video?id=9054737&pid=9054743
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#8
Posted April 16th 2013, 10:37am
I found the lahmacun yesterday to be very light on toppings and flavor, while I understand by nature lahmacun isn't loaded w/the minced meat, I felt it should have had more & therefore more flavor.

I'll go back and try the pide sometime.
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#9
Posted May 15th 2013, 9:49am
Crisp flakey crust, understated toppings, lots of flavor and textural interplay when rolled with included sumac topped onion/tomato/parsley and given a squirt of lemon. Pide ve Lahmacun's lahmacun is very different than, say, Taza Bakery's version, enjoyable in its own right.

Pide ve Lahmacun's Lahmacun

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Comparisons of pide to calzone seem inevitable, but pide, at least Pide ve Lahmacun's version, is noticeably lighter than the calzone I've encountered. I enjoyed my 1/2 pide, salad or soup and crusty house made bread $7.50 lunch special and will be back.

Pide ve Lahmacun's Pide

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Ample meter parking right in front of PveL

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Even though meat and cheese involved the overall effect is light, I found myself thinking this is the BBQ guys version of spa food. :)

Pide ve Lahmacun, count me a fan.
Last edited by G Wiv on May 16th 2013, 12:24am, edited 1 time in total.
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#10
Posted May 15th 2013, 3:36pm
Is this in the same space that once held the Cuban restaurant (Cafe 18??)?
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#11
Posted May 15th 2013, 3:39pm
It was cafe 28, and no. This place is a few doors down, closer to the L.
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