By Velva Rowell
Dave and I went on a real eating adventure last week when we were walking down the street looking for a restaurant we hadn’t tried before, and came across Diyar bistro and wine bar on their opening day. Now, I know that one should never review a restaurant on their opening day and I’m breaking that rule, but I have a good reason. I think Diyar is going to be a really nice addition to the neighborhood.
The cuisine is Mediterranean, mostly Turkish, and the prices are very reasonable. With a glass of wine each, a shared appetizer and an entrée apiece, we got out of there for about fifty dollars pre-tip. Also, the food was very tasty and, as one would expect, it went extremely well with wine.
My only issue is with the presentation of the menu. It is varied and interesting looking, however it would be useful to have it posted outside especially since Castro Street is so pedestrian friendly. Also it would have been nice to see the back two pages swapped so we could see all our dinner options in one place. We almost missed the entire page of pastas and chef’s specials, and that would have been a shame.
Diyar has an extensive wine list with a variety of bottles, glasses and half bottles. Dave and I each ordered by the glass because we had very different entrees, and we were both pleased with our choices. He had a Pinot Grigio and I had a very smooth food-friendly Zinfandel.
We chose to begin with an appetizer of Portobello mushrooms grilled and served with spinach and goat cheese. This turned out to be a very simple dish of sautéed spinach topped with a large meaty mushroom and a roundel of goat cheese. We both thought it was very tasty even though the spinach could have had a bit less salt. The meatiness of the mushroom made a pleasant contrast with the soft chilled goat cheese.
Dave’s fettuccini calamari was a generous portion of calamari rings in a nicely spiced Turkish style marinara served over fettuccini. It was a tasty and well integrated dish. Dave thoroughly enjoyed it although he found some of the calamari a bit too done for his liking.
My lamb shish came out in a very pretty presentation of grilled lamb and pilaf, with a whole roasted tomato and hot pepper and a pile of fresh mint, basil and parsley. Lamb was well-done and tasted especially nice when eaten with the fresh mint and basil. The pilaf was cooked in broth and studded with what appeared to be almonds. I ate everything on my plate with the exception of the hotter half of my pepper.
Diyar is well priced for what it is. It is a solid mid range restaurant with nicely prepared food which is something we need downtown to balance out the high-end restaurants and the low-end places that cater to the lunch crowds. Diyar is located at 300 Castro.
One further note, for those of you who really love Xhan Vietnamese Restaurant and those who haven’t tried it yet, they have moved to a larger location down the street at 110 Castro Street.