Pera Turkish Kitchen Bakes Great Bread, And Now Serves Booze

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I'm often bitching about Dallas' bread culture: bad hoagies, worse cheese steaks, zippy bagels and a dearth of crusty baguettes. Some places work at it, though. At Carbone's, which I reviewed a few weeks ago, Julian Barsotti makes a likeable focaccia. It reminded me of the puffy breads that come out of his wood fired oven at Nonna. The football shaped poofs of freshly baked bread explode with steam when you rip them open. They're a bit like pita bread.

It's pide, not pita, that's offered with your meals at Pera Turkish Kitchen, the subject of this week's review. The thick discs of bread disappointed me on my first visit. They were tough and dry and bland. On my second and third visit the bread was soft and pliable, so I assumed the first experience was a fluke.

When I talked to owner Sam Sensel he told me the thermostat on his oven was acting up a few weeks earlier. We guessed a faulty oven was the cause of the lackluster loaves. Either way any restaurant that decides to bake their own bread, or at least source it from a reputable baker, usually is mindful of the rest of their menu. This holds true at Pera.

The sad part of the story for you is that across my three visits, Pera was BYOB. I wish there had been a fun wine shop to explore in the same plaza, it would have made for a compelling combination. Just this week though, Sensel's license arrived. He now offers wines and a Turkish beer called Efes. The bread, though, remains the same. Drag those sesame crusted loaves through any of the dishes you encounter at Pera and sip on a Turkish pilsner. Hand-crafted food at this price point is hard to come by.

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