PARSIPPANY — Pandemic, or no pandemic, if you are a true food lover, who genuinely enjoys the culinary variety and pleasures of delicious, diverse, and extraordinary international cuisine, then Parsippany is the place to be. There is no denying the benefits that can be derived by visiting the many, exciting, multi-cultural dining experiences, all easily and conveniently located within this community, simply by stopping in and enjoying the wonderful, and sometimes exotic varieties, of the many excellent gourmet fares available.
One such cuisine not uncommon to this area’s dining scene is Turkish-Mediterranean. A relatively recent and exciting addition to that mix is Elmas Turkish-Mediterranean Cuisine, which opened in August of 2019 and located in a small strip mall right off Route 46 East. Elmas is a Turkish word that translates to “Diamond.” Even though a lot of these fantastic, unpretentious, culinary gems are frequently found among many nondescript strip malls, do not let that fool you, you will often be pleasantly surprised with what awaits you inside. I last visited Elmas with a group of foodie friends just prior to the pandemic. We all thoroughly enjoyed that visit, and I particularly enjoyed the delicious feast that we all agreed was something special. It was time for a long-overdue return visit.
On entering the unassuming, simple, red brick and glass storefront, I was warmly and enthusiastically welcomed by the smiling and personable owner of Elmas, Abdul Syed, who guided me, and my guest, to a well-prepared, carefully appointed table of our choosing. The dining room is aesthetically pleasing, spacious, sparkling clean, comfortable lighting and ambiance, and beautifully decorated to identify as an authentic Turkish restaurant. Tasteful Turkish décor throughout, with a large, eye-catching, beautiful painting of Istanbul situated on the back wall. It was also apparent that the seating, as well as the rest of the restaurant, was set up to be in full adherence with all current health safety requirements.
I would be remiss not to mention that Elmas has a very pretty, spacious, private banquet room in the rear of the restaurant, separated from the main dining room, that could comfortably accommodate family celebrations, business meetings, or any of a variety of get-togethers. This classy venue would normally accommodate up to 150 people, but naturally, that number has been greatly diminished for the time being due to health restrictions.
Amazingly, Mr. Syed remembered me from my visit last year and stated that he never forgets his friends, which not only impressed me but made me feel very much at home. Mr. Syed stated that his background provided him the opportunity to research and study the health benefits that are derived from eating properly prepared, high-quality food; and it is that foundation that inspired him and his wife, Mina, to open Elmas, their first venture into the restaurant business.
When asked, he stated that what makes Elmas special is his commitment to serve only fresh, healthy, authentic ethnic cuisine, always with an emphasis on customer service. His motto, “Eat Healthy, Stay Healthy” is reflected in the dining experience he provides. After A few minutes, the equally personable and genuine, Mina Syed, arrived and she could not have been more pleasant, accommodating, or helpful while discussing the menu with us.
As we pondered over that menu, our water glasses were filled, the wine was uncorked and poured (by the way did I mention that Elmas is a BYOB) and a basket of warm, pillowy, delicious bread quickly made its way to the table.
Our Turkish feast began with a variety of Hummus (pureed chickpeas blended with tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice), Soslu Patlican (fried eggplant cubes sauteed with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and garlic), Ezme (Minced spicy tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers and spices, tomato paste, olive oil, and lemon juice), and Yaprak Sarma (grape leaves stuffed with rice, onions, pine nuts, raisins, mint, parsley, and dill).
The arsenal of the different layers of tastes and textures among the various dishes was over the top delicious. As different as each dish was, they all seemed to enhance the other. Every bite was packed with flavor and was quickly devoured by spreading it on that previously mentioned warm bread.
As we finished off the last of the spicy Ezme I was beginning to wonder how I was going to finish the entrée I had ordered. The appetizers could serve as a filling and satisfying meal in themselves.
Nonetheless, out came our beautifully plated, hot, and succulent looking entrees. I ordered the Mixed Grill, as I was anxious to try the selection of Kebab’s offered on the menu. The generously sized platter of meats was visually impressive, and the large skewers of assorted meat looked delectable.
The Mixed Platter offered a nice-sized portion of Shish Kebab, Adana Kebab, Chicken Kebab, and Doner Kebab, and all served over grilled peppers, tomatoes, and rice. All the different meats provided a great balance of tastes, were perfectly prepared, cooked exactly right, juicy moist, tender, flavorful, and easily exceeded my expectations. I normally finish what I order, but on this night, I could not meet the challenge, and as much as I enjoyed every bite, I had to take some of this meal home for the next day. I did not get to try my friend Lamb Sauté, but reportedly that was an equally delicious and enjoyable meal.
As we sipped our complimentary Turkish Tea, we decided we had to try a couple of classic Turkish desserts. Ordered the Kunefe and Baklava to go along with a Turkish Coffee. The Kunefe, a traditional Middle Eastern dessert, a semi-sweet, filo pastry treat layered with cheese was savory, and the Baklava with its crunchy texture, nutty and honey-sweet taste was just the right finishing touch.
An excellent, gastronomical dining experience, wonderful food, exceptional, friendly, accommodating service, and great atmosphere. I would recommend visiting Elmas Turkish-Mediterranean Cuisine when you are up for a culinary trip to Adana, Turkey.
Come out and support all our small, independent local businesses in any way you can.
Halal Meat, Ample Parking, Dine In, Take Out, Delivery, BYOB, Banquet Hall, Catering. Closed Monday.
Elmas Turkish and Mediterranean Cuisine is located at 1561 Route 46, Parsippany. For more information call (973) 917-4700 or click here for their website.