Tur Kitchen, Coral Gables
Mediterranean is at the top of my list of favorite cuisines; aromatic spices, seasonal ingredients, refreshing wine, what is not to love? So, when I saw that a new Mediterranean-style restaurant had opened just minutes from our wedding venue, I knew this had to be the place that we would celebrate our would-be-wedding-day.
Walking into Tur Kitchen for the first time, I was truly blown away. Soaring ceilings stretch above somewhat harsh industrial finishing, and yet when combined with the lush greenery, luxe dining tables and royal blue statement seating afront the open kitchen, the overall feeling is one of warmth. This restaurant isn’t one that you will forget, and I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for the evening.
We wanted to experience everything Tur Kitchen had to offer, so we opted to start with cocktails at the bar. Hidden behind a floor to ceiling glass wine display, the bar offers an intimate space (as well as a perfect photo backdrop)! The cocktail menu is extensive, as is the wine list which, in an ode to the menu, features wines from Greece and Lebanon.
Now, a restaurant can be fitted with the most beautiful bar and offer only the top shelf spirits, but without the right personality, it will remain empty. Thankfully, Tur Kitchen doesn’t have to worry about that; Chris, the mixologist is one of the best we’ve met.
As he ran about pouring, stirring, and shaking drinks for everyone in the restaurant that night, he maintained conversation and spoke to us as if we were long-time friends. He took the time to explain each ingredient before presenting two perfectly crafted cocktails and when he found out what we were celebrating (or commiserating), Chris poured us each a shot of one of his favorite shooters: Mezcal. It was fun, it was exciting, and it was the perfect start to an impeccable evening.
As it was a special occasion, we opted for a Chef led experience.
The first dish to come out was the Tuna Crudo, thinly sliced tuna atop an equally thin slice of watermelon infused with Sancerre wine with heirloom tomato and shaved radish. This dish was light, carefully crafted and the perfect palate cleanser to start our culinary journey. It was also absolutely gorgeous and demonstrated the level of skill and precision possessed by top chefs.
Next up was Squid, served with Medjool dates, chili, and coriander. Typically, the plate would also come with chorizo, but the chef excluded this element for us. The ingredients were fresh, well thought out, and complimented each other in a way that felt authentic yet daring.
Visually, the third plate was a thing of beauty! I had never heard of butterfly tea before this dish, but its vibrant blue hue soaked into the Burrata, heirloom tomato, honeydew and watermelon and made for a truly memorable dish. If you’re curious (because I was) butterfly tea is made from the flower petals of the Clitoria Ternatea plant.
Next, we ventured into the Pides and Tartine section of the menu. A Pide is a traditional Turkish bread and comes stuffed like a long narrow boat. We had the Key West Shrimp Pides and I have to say, it was the star of the show. If there is one plate that I will crave for years to come, it is this one. The chef has perfectly paired South Florida flare with Turkish heritage; it was comforting, had bags of flavor, and left Sam and I fighting over the last piece. My only regret is not getting a better photo to fully admire the masterpiece!
After four glorious courses, it was time to sample one of Tur’s most talked about dishes: Mejadra Rice, along with langoustines which was paired with a crisp Austrian white. Immediately intriguing, the rice and lentils can be seen through the layer of fried shallots which in turn provide a bed for a few beautifully delicate edible flowers. The trick, we were told, is to spread a thin layer of yogurt before adding the Mejadra Rice and folding the two together; it was wonderfully comforting and rich. Fresh, meaty langoustine added further depth and the balanced Austrian wine ended it all on a high!
For dessert, we shared homemade Mille Feiulle with cereal cream, strawberries, and sumac. At this point, we were both quite full and couldn’t possibly consume anything further. And then we tasted it… The cereal cream has such a familiar flavor that is impossible not to love; I was transported to happier times when a bowl of frosted flakes could solve all my problems. Let’s just say, we had no issue finishing the entire cake.
Tur is a design led restaurant for which no expense has been spared; the dishes are as beautiful as the décor. The chic furnishings, relaxing ambiance and knowledgeable staff work together to make it an experience to remember, but the clear headliner is the food. The menus are meticulously well thought out, balanced, and offer a modern flare to authentic Mediterranean cuisine.
Tur Kitchen may be the best thing that has come out of 2020; I am so glad to have found it. My only complaint? That it is in Coral Gables and not my own neighborhood!