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Tucked away in Madrona at the end of Union, just to the south of where it dead-ends into 34th Street and across the way from the old stand-by St. Clouds is a tiny, 10-seater called Bistro Turkuaz.
The charming and exotic decor is exactly what one would expect from a Turkish restaurant. Copper glimmers, dark wood shines, tables are cozy and topped with flowers and the service is invariably kind. Walking through the front door is almost like stepping into someone's home — owner Ugur Oskay's home.
Oskay runs the kitchen at Turkuaz very much the way she runs her kitchen at home. From her tiny, bright white perch up the stairs at the back of the restaurant, she conjurs food that she would make for family and friends — Turkish cuisine flecked with the influences of Spain, Italy, Morocco, Cypress and Greece. Delicious, slow-cooked, mediterranean-inspired food meant to be lingered over and enjoyed with loved ones and plenty of Turkish wine.
Having owned the first Turkish restaurant in Münster, Germany years ago with her brother, Oskay has much practice at cooking and running an establishment. But the real artistry at work here is her welcoming, almost-motherly hospitality — her personal charm and finesse in the kitchen are a winning combination.
Patrons with adventurous hearts and palettes happily order longtime favorites from the menu, like Kuzu Incik (braised lamb shank in a delicate tomato sauce), occasional dishes from the specials board such as Lahmacun (thin yeast dough topped with minced meat and vegetables and sprinkled with lemon) or Oskay's favorite dinner: the Turkuaz Special, which is homemade pita topped with layers of roasted eggplant and grilled lamb.
With a beautiful space, enticing food, and a thoughtful staff to help navigate the menu, Turkuaz is truly an oasis of delights — perfect for date night, family dinner, or a quiet evening with friends.
- Darlin Gray