Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Friday we went to St. Louis for Suzanne’s graduations (congrats again Suzy!). Since we’re in the big city and cuisine is more exotic than at home, we enjoy trying new things. This trip, Michael and Suzanne took us to a Turkish/Mediterranean restaurant called Aya Sofia. We didn’t have reservations for Friday dinner, but it wasn’t a problem. The extremely nice hostess asked if we’d mind having a cocktail in the bar (no problem!) and said our wait would be about 15-20 minutes. Suzanne requested a booth so we opted to wait longer for that particular seating. We hadn’t even finished our drinks when the hostess came and got us for our table. I’m glad we waited for a booth because it made the experience even better.

The place was warm and cozy with Turkish decor, gold accents and gauzy curtains around the booths. It was noisy, but not overly chaotic. We decided to start with the appetizer sample platters – one was seafood and the other was assorted. I can’t tell you the names of what we had, but everything was delicious. The seafood platter had shrimp skewers, swordfish cubes and fried calamari. Normally, calamari is a bit chewy, but this was tender and tasty. It wasn’t greasy at all. The other platter had hummus (very good), stuffed grapeleaves (my favorite), fried feta and something else I can’t remember. Everything was delicious.

We were so stuffed from the appetizers that Steve and I didn’t order a meal. I had another round of the stuffed grapeleaves and Steve ordered the soup and another appetizer that had cheese and pinenuts in a baked shell. Everything contained lots of flavor and garlic. We all awoke Saturday morning with a garlic hangover in our mouths! We’re putting Aya Sofia on our list of “must eats” when we’re in the city.

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