Perfect lamb, visionary seared branzino, and phyllo delights at Machka
Chef Martinez displays vision in entrees like a seared branzino ($25). The flaky fish is interspersed with roasted fennel and cherry tomatoes, which taste like another glorious fruit altogether — sweet, sour, fantastic — roasted in a balsamic pomegranate reduction. It's an elegant entree that takes an unexpected turn with the tomatoes.
The wine list ($9 for a five ounce glass, $14 for eight ounce) includes interesting Turkish wines, like an acidic, zippy 2010 Kavaklidere Cankaya Emir from Ankara, and from the same producer, a balanced, fruity red: 2011 Kavaklidere Yakut Okuzgozu. Another wine that worked well with starters was a tropical fruit-laden 2011 Pinot Gris from New Zealand, The Ned.
You couldn't do better than a dessert of kunefe (or kanafeh, an Arab cheese crusted in shredded pastry, often phyllo dough — Jannah in the Western Addition also makes a beauty of a version). Soft, white cheese oozes from crisp, shredded phyllo soaked in honey and rosewater syrup, a finish sweet and satisfying as the overall experience in this latest Turkish respite.
Matchka 584 Washington, SF. 415-391-8228 www.machkasf.com
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