Marketing itself as “authentic Turkish cuisine,” Pasha Grill is an upscale restaurant and bar right in the middle of The Greene shopping district in Dayton’s eastern suburbs. It’s actually the second in a family chain, preceded by Cafe Istanbul which opened in Columbus in 2001. With an intimate interior, an arid and picturesque outdoor patio and a variety of drinks in between, Pasha gives a simple feel to a ritzy location. Its food is distinctly ethnic, and in spite of a number of Americanized options, it’s all going to be a new experience for the unfamiliar customer.
Pasha has a lot of different items, particularly its entrees, which are distinctly ethnic.
- Pasha Burger: While simple kababs and gyros provide a healthy portion of the menu that is strongly Turkish, a number of other selections walk the line between Turkish and western in order to draw in an American crowd which may be wary of things it does not recognize. One of them can only be described as a “gyro burger” which I tried. It’s got an American bun and the standard burger vegetables, but the meat is roasted lamb and beef, and a very Mediterranean sauce ties everything together. Deliciously, it’s also served with ranch dressing to further accentuate the dish. Overall, it’s outstanding.
- Mousakka: This eggplant-based dish features a ton of beef and lamb topped with bechamel sauce and some mozzarella cheese. It’ll remind you a whole lot of lasagna, but different spices give it a bit more flair.
- Baba ghanoush: Smokey eggplant puree with just a tad of tahini and garlic to give it character. A good starter.
- Turkish tea: The beverage speaks for itself, but it’s flavored with just a hint of citrus. Served very hot! Like all Turkish teas, this one is a good evening drink.
The more authentic Turkish items are also very good, though a bit more exotic by American standards. Kababs, which are a main attraction, are seasoned very strongly and served with flame-roasted vegetables and rice. All of it doesn’t look substantial, but it’s got so much flavor packed in that you’ll be taking some home to eat later. So much flavor and so well done, I can’t imagine anything could be done to the dish to make it better. It’s just simply delicious. There are also good appetizers, among them an outstanding ezme with tomato, hot peppers, olive oil and spices — it makes an outstanding dip for a very Mediterranean bread.
The service is excellent at Pasha, and I definitely get the idea if a casual-but-fine restaurant where dressing up is encouraged but casual eating is encouraged, too. Servers are incredibly friendly and helpful with them menu, which is saying a lot considering so many of the items might be foreign to the average Dayton resident who has probably never encountered them before. It’s a great credit to the place how well this is done.
A place like Pasha is a rarity, indeed. it’s a casual but quality dining experience that makes very ethnic Turkish food approachable to the average Ohioan. It’s definitely a nice place to go on a Friday night, and could definitely make for a memorable date.
- Pasha is a casual fine dining experience meant for small groups. I would encourage dressing up.
- Give the appetizers a try — there are a lot of items the average American may not recognize, but are nonetheless very good.
- There is also an outdoor patio and bar I would recommend trying if the weather is nice.