Renee Steve



Black Sea
737 Snelling Avenue North
Midway Area, St. Paul

Website


Date of Review
December 8, 2001

Excellent
Excellent

Entree Price:
$5 - $10

Our Total Bill:
$20.80

Type:
Turkish

Reservations:
No

Attire:
Casual

Parking:
Street

Crumber:
No

WWGB:
Yes

Pepper:
shaker on table
Renee's Side Steve's Side

  • Sarma (Cabbage Rolls) $1.85 (shared)
  • Kofte Kebab (Beef Meetballs with Special Black Sea Herbs) $6.25
  • Baklava $1.95 (shared)


The first Turkish restaurant in Minnesota. The first Turkish restaurant I have been to. The first restaurant in a long time where I felt like they really cared if I enjoyed their food and if I came back. Granted this is a very small restaurant 5 tables with most of their business being takeout. But there were a total of three people running the restauant and all of the tables were occupied and at least five people came in for takeout while we were there. And that is three people including the cook, host and dishwasher. Perhaps I have gotten a little jaded going to all the big restaurants, where they treat you just fine, but they really don't care if you come back or not. Sure they would like you to, but that is not the focus of every person there. This ties into a greater customer service problem in our country that I have noticed the last few years, but I won't digress that far.

Not only was the service and people who worked there great, but the food was very good as well. They are very proud of their country and where they are from so I am sure they would cringe to hear me say it, but it reminded me of Greek food a quite of bit. Although they had little touches that definately made it Turkish. The cabbage rolls were one of the best values for an appetizer I have seen in a long time. There were two cabbage rolls, plus the plate was garnished with olives, cheese, peppers and pita bread, it was almost a small meal right there. The entrees were very large. Mine had five or six large meatballs on a bed of rice that filled the plate with a bunch of pita bread. I was full to say the least, but because I kinda wanted to linger there we ordered the baklava and turkish coffee to round out the meal. The baklava was very good as well. The turkish coffee was great, very sweet, the way I secretly wish they would make it in the US.

If I lived in the neighborhood, I would probably go there once every couple of weeks for an easy and cheap dinner. And even though it is a little out of my normal lunch range, I think I might stop by once in while to check in.



  • Adana Kebab (Spicy Turkish Beef Kababs) $5.95

Black Sea Restaurant is a gem of a neighborhood ethnic restaurant. The price is right, they have takeout, and they have some Turkish memorabilia for patrons to enjoy. That said, there are some weird inconsistencies regarding tableware. They offer you a plastic fork and knife with a napkin sealed in plastic for your entree. But if you order tea or Turkish coffee, they have a lovely tea service, complete with small tea spoons. Plates were normal, except the baklava we split was served on a paper plate. The kebabs were served with stainless steel metal skewers with a carved golden end.

But ignore some of those inconsistencies because it is mostly a takeout place, and the price is so reasonable. Across the board, the beverages and food were an excellent value. The taste was good or excellent for everything. While we won't rave about the sarma (cabbage rolls), they were o.k., and we can't complain about trying something different. I would recommend the Adana kebab, which was a spicy Turkish beef kebab, served over rice. The flavor was very good, and the rice was excellent, a much better choice than the French fries. This would be a good option for someone who is reluctant to try ethnic food, because most Americans enjoy a good beef dish. Renee and I both loved the pita bread that was served on the side of the appetizer and entrees. Finally, the baklava was good. The piece was rich, sweet, and delicious. It was nice to split a piece because we had already had so much food to eat.

As mentioned, the restaurant is mainly takeout. There is seating for about sixteen people. If you live in the area, try the place for sit-down dinner or takeout. If you go for sit-down dinner, be sure to look through their collection of post cards or one of their travel books. The waiter was more than happy to share some insight into their hometown on the Black Sea. The literature and the descriptions are small windows into another culture half a world away.

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