Short Orders: Cafe Istanbul (Plano)

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Cafe Istanbul
7300 Lone Star Drive, Plano

The northern addition to Plano's Legacy development supports a hive of restaurants, all clustered near the big fountain that supposedly distracts from the vista of an office building and the distant blue of IKEA.

But the grouping--and others spread around the entire complex--is what makes Legacy such an inviting area.

Well, if all they offered were RA Sushi, Benihana and the Gordon Biersch Brewery, I'd take that back. Along with Coast Global Seafood, Cafe Istanbul brings...what's the word?...not class. Perhaps the two restaurants bring a sense of polish to the area.

Whatever people love about Cafe Istanbul's original location, they'll likely find here--except for belly dancers. It's the same menu in a new space given to touches of suburban sophistication, such as stonewall facades and random blue disks. Their baba ghanouj is gently abused, lending a curdled texture flowing with distant dry-leaf smoke, roasted garlic and the unique bite of tahini. A rich, chili and pepper heat rises carefully through the sharp tomato broth in the kitchen's impressive Bursa Iskender, while slowly cooked meat counters with cumbersome, husky flavors.

There are weak spots. Their kofte appetizer has a pre-fab appearance, for example. And I suspected an overly stylish young Turkish couple seated across the way had been planted there to convince first timers of the restaurant's authenticity...although that suspicion probably has more to do with mind-wandering boredom while waiting for my first course than actual fact.

Would be a good ruse, though.

The appeal of Legacy is, as I've mentioned before, its walkability. Yet a number of the more interesting places define themselves as evening destinations. If you live in the area or drop by on a weekend afternoon, too many beckoning semi-upscale patios stand silent. Coast Global's is a good example.

So this is the best thing about Cafe Istanbul. It offers something different than surrounding establishments--good start. And with an elegant (considering the setting) covered patio and daytime hours, the place stands to do well.

The downside? I had to look at their website to find an illustration. I hate their website. And if you're not a particular fan of sorry music blasting every time you hit 'enter,' you'll hate it, too. So mute your computer before you click on the link above...

Oh, should have warned you first.

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