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Friday, June 21, 2013

Rumi's, Monroe Avenue

 NOTE:  at this writing (2/12/14) this establishment is closed.

I learned recently that a new Turkish restaurant had opened on Monroe Avenue, in a former Pizza Hut. News of a Turkish restaurant was intriguing enough, but I also saw that they serve pizza.
Rumi's Cafe & Grill is billing itself as a Mediterranean restaurant, rather than specifically Turkish, and I can see the reasoning behind that. Rochester's probably not big enough to support a lot of restaurants with a narrow ethnic focus, so better to cast a wide net and say "Mediterranean" than Turkish, or Lebanese, or Greek, or Moroccan. At least that seems to be the thinking behind it.
Now I've had a Turkish variant on pizza before, called Lahmacun, from Istanbul Market, and I loved it. But this was nothing like that. This was pizza, pure and simple. But it was pretty good.
I was with two friends, and, somewhat to my surprise, they both ordered pizza as well. I got a spinach & feta pie, and they got a chicken doner and beef doner pizza. ("Doner," I guess, is the Turkish name for that meat on a spit that they use to make what is generally referred to in the U.S. as a gyro.)
Rumi's makes its own dough, and that showed. The underside bore screen marks, but it was crisp and crackled on the surface. The interior of the thin-to-medium crust was also pleasantly breadlike.
The toppings were moderately applied but tasty, with a thin layer of lightly seasoned, tomatoey sauce and just-browned mozzarella. My spinach and feta were not abundantly applied, but there was enough for good flavor and to accent the rest of the pie. The meat toppings were shaved, again as you would get in a gyro, and worked well as a pizza toppings, although between the two of them I preferred the chicken, as the beef doner (which also contains lamb) seemed a bit too overcooked for my taste - better to just have it put straight onto bread for a sandwich.
So while these weren't particularly Turkish, they were good. And we agreed that we would like to come back to Rumi's to explore some of their non-pizza offerings, which include a wide variety of kabobs, sandwiches, seafood entrees, platters, appetizers, and salads, as well as baklava and kunefe, which is described as layered filo dough with cheese, syrup and pistachios (both the baklava and kunefe are made off premises; in fact the menu describes them as imported from Istanbul and from the Mediterranean region, respectively).They also serve breakfast, with a number of Turkish pastries and more traditionally American choices available.
Partly I want to try those other dishes just because I like trying new things and because I like Mediterranean food. And partly it's because I was pretty impressed with Rumi's pizza. If the rest of their food is up to these standards, it's definitely worth a revisit. I'll give the pizza a B.
Rumi's, 2735 Monroe Avenue 14618
242-7864
Open 9 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily

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