From Constantinople to Chippewa
Aya Sophia has a lot to live up to. Its namesake in Istanbul was once the grandest church in all Christendom. After the Turkish invasion of Constantinople, it became a mosque and is now a museum. But in our local culinary turf wars, Aya Sophia on Chippewa has deftly fended off invaders to remain a dominant figure on the Mediterranean food scene.
A Classic Menu
Aya Sophia earned its creds long before Mediterranean fare was popular on local menus. After 13 years in business, they’re still serving top tier Turkish and Lebanese food from biryani to balaclava and meze to moussaka.
A few weeks ago my group of Dining Women drove out Chippewa for an evening of Mediterranean-style fare. Bonus points to the restaurant for having an attached parklot, that’s just steps from the entrance. Inside, lush maroon fabric decorates the booths, adding both color and a feeling of seclusion and relaxation.
Go for the Mezze Platter
The Mezze Platter could have been an entire meal. (We were factoring in an after-dinner stop at Ted Drewes just across the street.) With that in mind, we shared two entrees: Dolma, a baked stuffed pepper, and Sebzeli Musakka, a baked eggplant and vegetable combination. Our server recommended a Turkish wine that went well with the meal.
Ironically, the orders were similar in looks, but had quite different ingredients and taste. Both dishes measured up favorably to those I’ve had in Istanbul. Each was well flavored and prepared, but my favorite was the eggplant, perhaps because of my inclination toward more vegetarian dishes.
A Turkish Delight
Aya Sophia in Istanbul is awe-inspiring with its 30 million mosaic tiles to delight the eye. But Aya Sophia-St. Louis is awe-inspiring as well with its well-crafted menu and tasty Turkish cuisine.
Aya Sophia. 6671 Chippewa, across from Ted Drewes. Open: Lunch: Tue-Sat 11a-2p; Dinner: Tues-Sat 5p – close; Sunday Brunch: 10a-2p Sun. 5p-9p; Happy Hour (bar & patio): Tues-Fri 5p-7p.