Machka 584 Washington St./Montgomery St., Financial District, (415) 391-8228. L-D M-Sat; $$. Contemporary Turkish cuisine prepared with mostly local organic ingredients is served in this intimate little spot at the edge of North Beach. Seating is at high tables—with purse hooks underneath—in a room with a brick wall and large windows to a leafy street and the Transamerica pyramid. The menu has small-plate mezes as well as durum (wraps), meat and vegetable kebabs, and larger entrees. All my choices (shared with my dining companion) turned out to be winners. The delicate creamy fennel soup of the day was delicious, though the taste of fennel was hard to detect. A tasty babaganoush (eggplant spread) came with spectacular crisp lavash chips flavored with smoked paprika—it was impossible to stop eating them. Blue cheese-chorizo stuffed dates, cumin lamb kebabs with a cherry tomato-enhanced rice pilaf, and a green salad of fava beans, English peas, and snap peas completed the main meal for us. Desserts include a traditional fried künefe made with soft white cheese inside shredded filo dough topped with roasted pistachios, but I opted for delectable dried apricots stuffed with mascarpone and enhanced with pistachios and a housemade tart pomegranate molasses. Thick Turkish coffee is available. An exhibition kitchen adds to the cozy atmosphere. Getting here by BART is easy. The restaurant is 7 blocks from the Montgomery station. It also makes an easy tie-in with a movie at the Embarcadero Center Cinema at One Embarcadero Center (www.landmarktheatres.com). From the movie, it is a few blocks back to the Embarcadero BART station.
image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers