Janette Burk and her husband, T. Abraham Burk, opened Kismet Turkish Cafe and Bakery in the mall at Alderwood in March. (Sharon Salyer / The Herald)

Janette Burk and her husband, T. Abraham Burk, opened Kismet Turkish Cafe and Bakery in the mall at Alderwood in March. (Sharon Salyer / The Herald)

Kismet cafe-bakery a ‘Turkish delight’ found at Alderwood mall

The Lynnwood eatery’s menu aims to please with meat, vegetarian and vegan options — plus dessert.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how surprised I was to find “non-airport-style” food at Everett’s Paine Field — in short, some entrees that were restaurant-quality good.

Now, the tip of my cap goes to another surprise — a cafe in a shopping mall that’s well worth a visit.

You can spot Kismet Turkish Cafe & Bakery as you leave Macy’s to enter the mall at Alderwood. Just look up, walk straight ahead and be on the lookout for the cheery red seats.

The next thing you might see is the cheery face of Janette Burk, who makes people feel right at home with a cuisine you may not be familiar with.

Turkish food is somewhat similar to Greek cuisine, but with its own twists. So she’s ready to make suggestions, based on your hunger and preferences.

“Would you like to try the muhummara?” she asked as I studied the menu. She gave me a sample of the dish, which has the consistency — but not the taste — of hummus.

Intrigued, I quickly agreed to the plate ($7.69) of spicy pepper dip, which also includes pita bread, cucumber, olives and tomatoes.

I really wanted to try the Turkish coffee, a concentrated brew served in small cups. But it was a hot day, I had been crawling in heavy traffic and I wanted something cool. So I opted for mineral water with just a splash of flavoring.

I was delighted with the muhummara, made from roasted red peppers with walnuts, pomegranates, onions and cayenne pepper. If you are very cautious about spiciness — someone who asks for a “zero” on the 1-5 scale when you go to a restaurant that serves spicy food — know that it has a kick.

The serving sizes are moderate. If you’re looking for a full meal, you may want to add other offerings or opt for dessert. But if the serving sizes are moderate, the prices are extremely reasonable.

One of the cafe’s specialties is the omelette alaturka, with eggs, roasted vegetables, spices and provolone cheese ($7.69). It’s an item traditionally served all day in Turkey.

For the meat eaters among us, there is kofta kabap ($9.95), four beef meatballs, roasted peppers and tomatoes with pita, and a similar dish with five beef meatballs, dressed with a yogurt and hot pepper sauce for $12.53.

I bought a spinach and feta borek to eat at home later. It’s somewhat similar to spanakopita, but is rolled into a long piece of filo-like dough instead of the traditional square layers of spanakopita. It’s a bargain at $4.75.

I’m not a person who feels that a meal without dessert isn’t a meal at all. But you owe it to yourself to try at least one of the cafe’s offerings.

I tried the pistachio baklava, ($2.71), a bite-sized piece of goodness, sweet but without the overpowering “hunk of honey” sweetness you sometimes get with baklava.

Do check out the case full of Turkish delights, sweets in a variety of combinations, including pistachios and pomegranates, kiwis and pistachios, orange and hazelnuts, and blueberries, pomegranates and pistachios.

Sample one for $1.80, three for $4.50, five for $7.20 or a 12-piece box for $16.20. Some customers looked at all the choices and said: “Just give me some things that are popular.”

My advice: You can’t go wrong. Just be adventurous and give any of them a try.

The cafe is relatively new, having opened in March. It is still expanding its menu, and you’ll see some items listed with a note that they will be added soon.

Burk, who grew up in Kansas, has lived in Spain, Mexico City and Turkey. In fact, the cafe has been a joint project with her husband, T. Abraham Burk, who is from Turkey.

“We’re slowly adding things,” Janette Burk said, adding that she hopes to soon serve a selection of salads.

“People are really excited they have an option here,” she said.

It’s a place to either experience again a favorite cooking tradition or try it for the first time. Add it to your list. You, too, will likely be surprised with this “non-mall-food” option.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

If you go

Kismet Turkish Cafe and & Bakery, 3000 184th St. SW, Lynnwood, is adjacent to the indoor mall entrance to Macy’s, open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Call 424-245-9710 or go to kismetcafebakery.com for more information.

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