The Scoop: Head east on 22nd Street, away from the bustle of Mission and Valencia, and the climat...The Scoop: Head east on 22nd Street, away from the bustle of Mission and Valencia, and the climate changes. Things get quieter, you start seeing more trees, and the word “neighborhood” starts to feel right. Tucked in amongst the greenery is a charming Turkish bistro, with a pleasantly plump name that rolls off the tongue: Tuba. Come in and be welcomed by the soothingly maroon walls, the warm lighting, and (most importantly), the smell of sophisticated Turkish cuisine.
Tuba opened early in 2010, and rapidly developed a cult following. People from the densely residential neighborhood were part of the fan base, but the eatery attracted gastronomes (and Turkophiles) from around the city. The secret? A blend of traditional Turkish cuisine with the modern foodie twists that make San Franciscans go ga-ga, made all the more attractive by reasonable price points. Take the beyti adana, for example. Little cylindrical tubes of lamb and beef (aka, adana), ground with oregano, black pepper, and a blend of spicy Turkish chilies, wrapped in circles of grilled lavash and served in a spicy yogurt and tomato sauce. There’s a lot of flavors at play here, but we trust your refined palate to sort it all out.
Also of note is the hünkar beğendi, a gorgeous dish of eggplant and mozzarella, pureed and topped with shredded lamb and beef and dusted with sumac and parsley. It’s a dish as handsome as it is tasty. Even the bread at Tuba is worth telling your friends about: flavorful, pillow-y, and sublime, served with feta and sun dried tomato butter, with the consistency of a soft pretzel and an out-of-this-world flavor profile. But it’s not just the food that keeps people returning to this much-loved little neighborhood destination. The ambience is inviting, with an unmistakable Mediterranean allure (think: bordello chic), accented by pixilated modern wall art to remind you that you’re still in 20th-century San Francisco. Tuba also boasts a very respectable wine list, and the bottle setup in the back of the room hearkens to a cozy Old World underground cellar. Once you sit down on one of their plush throw pillows along the wall, you just may never want to leave.
Ezme – crushed walnuts, pepper paste, tomato paste, garlic, cumin (served cold w/ bread), $6
Sigara boreği – pan-fried feta & spinach pastry, $7
Beyti adana – ground herbed lamb & beef, wrapped in grilled lavash served in spicy yogurt & tomato sauce, $14
Hünkar beğendi – eggplant and mozzarella, pureed and topped with shredded lamb and beef, $15
Mixed grill kabab – chicken and lamb shish, köfte, adana, lamb chops (great for sharing), $24
Monday – Thursday & Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.