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(Gerry Furth-Sides) Diners can see the ocean a block away from the outside patio of Turquoise restaurant. Fresh ingredients, depth of flavor and collages of color in the dishes continuously earn the Pan-Mediterranean cuisine local awards since Hamid Fatemi opened it in 2008.
Middle Eastern professional service begins with prompt phone service even before you arrive. Hospitality begins at the door with a cool smoothie. The vivid raspberry color “Miracle Drink” blended with carrot juice, apple juice, and a kick of ginger. Shreds of the fruit add texture.
Here, “Pan-Mediterranean” refers to many customary Middle Eastern items, such huumus and babaganoush, yogourt and kabobs. It also offers unique non-Middle Eastern Mediterranean combinations, such as a grilled duck schwarma Panini sandwich and American salads.
Sampler tomato-basil and lentil soups prove why they are a pride of the kitchen. The taste of vegetables and herbs reign, complemented but not overpowered by spices and oils.
Turquoise lists their dips as “Cold Tapas” ($9 or so and two for $12.95). Beets in all their glory arrive in Mast-O-Laboo, homemade organic yogurt mixed with succulent roasted beets. It comes as no surprise that beets are prevalent in Iranian cooking.
Turquoise Organic Hummus is filled with wickedly good flavor. Here the depth comes from pureed golden chickpeas, roasted red peppers, pomegranate molasses, roasted walnuts and organic sesame seeds. It proves the argument for featuring walnuts in savory dishes. The Olive-walnut Tapenade has the unusual addition of crushed walnuts balanced with chopped black and green olives. Tabouli made with cracked wheat , cucumber, tomato, scallion, parsley and olive oil was seasoned with lemon was distinguished by the addition of fresh mint. The more Western Salad Oliviyehwas also topnotch, maybe because of the high quality ingredients of natural chicken, organic eggs, potatoes, organic mayonnaise, chopped pickles, olives, green peas and spices. And diced Persian cucumbers and homemade organic yogurt and fresh mint made the Mast-Okhiar sing. Where preference comes into play, I prefer a Baba Ganoush (perfectly roasted eggplant) with garlic rather than the caramelized onion flavor atTurquoise.
The Turquoise kitchen take on a perfectly dressed, popular Classic Greek Salad. Plum tomato, red onion, Kalamata olives, feta cheese and fresh parsley garbanzo beans are at its core. Unique additions are the bell pepper and fresh parsley, and of course the more crispy and flavorful Persian cucumbers.
“Grandma’s recipe” for Torshe Anbeh, a middle eastern joy of sweet and sour mango chutney is a mix of tamarind, mango, dates and spices. It is a dish that marries all the classic Persian flavors in a straightforward way.
Even a photo of the Duck Shawarma Panini, grilled duck with organic fig, brie, capers, grape tomato and dill ($13.95), makes your mouth water. The succulent duck was made even more so with the spread.
Entrees are served with rice and organic salad, again each dish so honest and balanced it would serve as a meal. We tried poultry and meats Kabobs, looking forward to the wild fish and seafood dishes were tempting. The Lamb kabob, all natural filet of New Zealand lamb is marinated in a gourmet saffron-onion blend then perfectly grilled to a pink-tan ($24.95). The secret of the all natural boneless Chicken Breast Kabob is a lemon juice and saffron marinade ($14.95).
Roasted Vegetables with saffron rice ($11.95 as an entrée), a a crayon box color combination, textured with asparagus, portabella mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and bell peppers. Served with rice and an organic salad.
Hameed’s catering background for choosing universal pleasers and enhancing them are proven with the Crème Brulee, the original recipe from a Parisian pastry chef in Westwood, here improved upon with real vanilla bean and cream. The, royal parfait of homemade yogourt and fruit was dense, creamy and naturally sweet.
Meticulous preparation and ingredients at Turquoise translate into slightly higher prices than usual, but they are offset by the taste and generous portions –down to the smooth espresso.
There is a Persian saying because of Isfahan’s famous architecture, carpets and cuisine, “Esfahān nesf-e jahān ast” (Isfahan is half of the world). Until I get to this magical place, Turquoise will do just fine.
1735 S Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach CA 90277
Today’s hours: 11:00 am-9:00 pm. (310) 362-4478
(www.turquoise-restaurant.com). Order online for pickup or delivery below.
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