Last week, at the end of Ozayr’s weekly email update, we received this…
“Tentatively – I’d like to introduce you to my favorite restaurant in Istanbul. Let me know if you’re interested and I can make reservations. Two words: Flaming Chicken.”
Everyone was intrigued and all 16 of us, Brad Agee, and Gayla Lindt were in. I was a bit shocked when we were told to meet at 5:30, seemed early compared to other dinners we’ve had on the trip, but when we were walking out of the restaurant at 8:45, it all made sense.
Within those three plus hours, we were served three different salads, three types of humus, three çays each, a number of main courses (some of which came to us on fire!!), dessert, and enough bread to feed fifty people. Needless to say, dinner was amazing. Ozayr did the ordering which is always great because he always knows the best dishes and we get to try things that we don’t know the names of and otherwise wouldn’t order. Throughout the dinner, it felt like we had five personal servers waiting on us which was quite necessary with the rate that food kept coming. After the appetizers were out, a well garnished meter long kebab was placed on the table. I’m a vegetarian so I sat out on that course. I guess I was naive to think that a meter long kebab was the main course because the next thing you know, there were three chicken sized mounds of salt being rolled out of the kitchen…ON FIRE! They let us take a whack at cracking through the two inch shell of salt and sure enough, three chickens inside! I was going to sit out on this course too UNTIL my end of the table had stuffed themselves and didn’t quite finish the chicken. I started feeling a temptation to give it a try. My temptation became so strong (along with my peers egging me on) that I tried the chicken and broke my vegetarianism of 16 years. My thought process? If I’m going to try meat any time soon, it should probably be flaming chicken from Istanbul. I liked it!
We all left the flaming chicken restaurant (still don’t know it’s real name) with stuffed, happy bellies and even more confidence that Ozayr knows where to find good food in Istanbul.