Kebab House is a new Turkish restaurant in Enfield, serving kebabs, baba ganoush, pita and other Mediterranean treats.
The restaurant, inside the Enfield Square mall across from the movie theater, is co-owned by Ozzy Akpinar, a Suffield resident who emigrated from Sivas, Turkey; and chef Hassan Kormaz, who formerly ran the kitchen at Istanbul, the longtime Turkish restaurant in Middletown.
In the Middletown restaurant, Kormaz’s kitchen was out of sight of customers. He is happy that Kebab House has an open kitchen, viewable through glass panels by all customers. “He wants people to see how he makes the food,” Akpinar said. “That’s how they do it in Turkey.”
In full sight of diners, Kormaz shaves meat off of spindles to make doner kebabs — similar to gyro or shawarma — and scoops up iskender, a meat-and-tomato sauce dish served over pita. He throws meat on the grill: minced-and-spiced adana, cubed shish, inegol kofte meatballs and pirzola cutlets.
When Akpinar is able to hire more help in the kitchen, the restaurant will add lahmacun and pide to the offerings. The pizza-like flatbread dishes are topped with a variety of meats and cheeses: soujuk sausage, lamb, beef, feta, mozzarella, cheddar, kashar cheese.
Kormaz grew up in Gaziantep, where his father has a restaurant. That ancient city is famed for its unique cuisine, which was influenced by the food cultures of Armenians and Kurds, as well as nearby Aleppo, Syria. “The spices are different there. They don’t taste like other Turkish food,” Akpinar said.
Kormaz’s desserts, made in-house, are distinctive, too. These include kunefe, a cheese pastry; revani, a cake made with lemon, semolina and eggs; sarma, made from pistachio paste; and rice pudding. Other desserts, purchased from a specialty Turkish bakery, are baklava and kadayif.
When Kormaz left Turkey, he first emigrated to Canada, helping a friend with his restaurant in Montreal. He later moved to the United States. “He wanted to show people what Turkish food is really like,” Akpinar said.
Kebab House is open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. kebabhouseenfield.com.
Susan Dunne can be reached at [email protected].