Brunch at a Turkish restaurant? Well, okay, why not? We hadn't been to Aya Sofia in a good while, and finding something different on brunch menus is always fun (if, too often, a challenge). As the weather cools, there are plenty of tables outside for those who prefer sunshine with their meal, but the pleasant interior, with light pouring through the south-facing windows, works equally well at night, when the romantic reds in the decor add warmth.
The brunch menu provides options for the conservative eater as well as rowdy folks like us. Wider choice is appreciated, even though not everyone is ready to face the exotic for the first meal of the day. And the most exotic thing on that brunch menu is menemen. Scrambled eggs, tomatoes, onions, peppers and ground beef arrive in a casserole. That's a good presentation; it's not a particularly handsome dish when spread on a plate. But our advice is to persevere. This stuff is seriously good, lots of flavor from the vegetables and some cumin, a little heat from the pepper, all very satisfying. It came with some of the best breakfast potatoes we've had in a while, thinly sliced, pan-fried and crisp here and there, properly seasoned, the sort of thing that comes from a mom's kitchen more often than a restaurant's. We suspect they may not be Turkish, but who cares? Ditto the biscuits, which were fresh and very tender. They'd been split, buttered and grilled, a new technique for us, but worthwhile. Even the fruit was fully ripe and in season.
Those sides also accompanied an omelet of tomato and gyro or doner meat, and unfortunately it didn't work as well as the menemen. The meat seemed unseasoned, the tomatoes only vaguely pink and contributing nothing, and the omelet more like a flat pancake that had been cooked until brown and crisp and folded onto the plate.
On the other hand, a beef kebab from the lunch-y side of the menu was tasty, good beef, still pink inside from the request for medium-rare--and they get points for asking our preference--over rice pilaf and some vegetables that hadn't been cooked to death.
And yes, there are pancakes, eggs Benedict, and that sort of American-style breakfast items, too.
Baklava is made with pistachios and a simple syrup rather than the Greek style of walnuts and a honey syrup, and it seems lighter and less sweet, as well as being lovely to the eye. And speaking of lovely, Aya Sofia offers some interesting fruit juices, including a delightful sour cherry. It's used in their equivalent of a mimosa, and it's a don't-miss, the bittersweet notes of the juice a good companion to the sparkling wine.
Excellent service from a server who asked all the right questions and kept an eagle eye on things.
6671 Chippewa Ave.
Lunch Tues.-Fril, Dinner Tues.-Sun, Brunch Sun.
Credit cards: Yes
Wheelchair access: Fair
Entrees (brunch): $7-$9