Kabab De Istanbul- Kissimmee- 4 Stars
As with our 12th President of the United States, Millard Fillmore, I feel Flea Markets generally get a bad rap these days. I mean, they started out as an outside once a month thing, now we have places like Maingate Flea Market in Kissimmee that is housed in a permanent indoor fully air-conditioned structure. Isn't this just another mall? With quiet consternation, I strode boldly through the doors into the heart of this indoor Flea Market and immediately noticed that it was not a mall, at least the prices advertised inside and out were not your typical mall prices. Winding our way through the plethora of patrons (locals and tourists alike) I was reminded what a true melting pot we have here in Osceola County. There were people and goods from all over this vast, blue, space-marble we call Earth and one could hear at least a dozen different languages spoken. It was truly a unique and gratifying experience. However, as with all journeys, this one too came to its fruition as I found myself in front of my goal, the international food court.
Glistening, like a desert oasis in the midst of a vast array of eating choices, sat our destination as determined by my random pie hole stuffing generator, Kebab de Istanbul. Standing in the medium length line in front of the lovely female counter person gave me ample time to peruse the well displayed and detailed menu. As I stepped forward to place our order, I was greeted with nothing other than a smile and it was then that I realized this person did not speak any English. This was not the obstacle one might assume it to be as I learned a long time ago that a smile, a polite nod and a firm finger gesture can convey a multitude of meanings. With this in mind, I calmly pointed to the items I wished to purchase, these being one order each of their Kafta and Shish Kabab entrees. Each came with a side of rice, a Tabouli salad and hummus.
Even with each order being made as requested, we didn't have long to wait before I was gestured to return for our food. Walking back to the table my Syrian blood began to salivate at the aromas invading my olfactory protuberance. Everything sure smelled as it should, let's hope scent is not deceiving and it all tastes as delicious as the fragrance suggested.
First to be sampled by my perceptive palate was the Kafta Kebab. Kafta, in the traditional Middle Eastern vein, is made with ground lamb, minced onion and regional spices such as cardamon, sumac, allspice and others. This is then mixed with bread crumbs, formed into Kebab shape and grilled on a skewer. Whoever put this dish together was obviously from or well trained by someone from the Middle East as it was seasoned and grilled to perfection. The attending rice pilaf was steamed just as it should be and was garnished with toasted slivers of almonds and fresh parsley. The Tabouli salad consisted of freshly chopped parsley, cracked wheat and sliced onions. Everything was exceedingly well prepared and tasted as delicious as it smelled. The last side to be addressed is their hummus. This was the standard hummus I have grown accustomed to, while not the same consistency nor taste as one finds being made in the kitchen of Cedar's Cafe, it was fine. Next up was the plated Shish Kabab entree. As with the Kafta Kebab, the protein was lamb. Lamb is really the only possible choice here if one wants the authentic middle eastern staple loved the world over. While the previous kebab is made of ground lamb, the Shish version is made with whole chunks of marinated lamb. As such, the lamb was tender, juicy and exemplary in taste. Overall every aspect of the meal was well made, tasty and prepared with care and a well-honed grilling technique.
The Big Boy says, "If in need of an oasis of scrumptious sustenance while in the Maingate Flea Market, make a beeline to Kebab de Istanbul, rest your dogs while enjoying a fine sampling of the food of half my people. #iamthebigboy #bigboydiningout