Zeugma Mediterranean Grill & Wine Bar, a new Turkish fusion restaurant located at 44 South Park Street in the Siena building, is full of surprises.
Starting with the incredibly addictive Ginger Lee, a refreshing shaken drink made with fresh squeezed lemon, juiced ginger, honey and a dash of cayenne and garnished with candied ginger & lemon peel (lip-smacking on its own, but would also be incredible spiked with your favorite spirit) to cold mezzes like pumpkin mohammara (sweet pumpkin puree, walnut, garlic, feta cheese perfect for dipping with pita) to a pistachio steak burger served with roasted tomatoes, pistachio pesto, spiced fries and pickles ($16), Zeugma’s menu has imaginative dishes you won’t find elsewhere.
Take Zeugma’s grilled halloumi ($13), for instance. The delicious cheese from Cyprus is grilled, but at Zeugma, it gets wrapped in grape leaves first and then served with a sweet chili sauce. The preparation elevates the halloumi to a new level.
You’ll recognize dishes from Greek and Turkish cuisine, but at Zeugma, they have their own unique twist. Turkish chef Can Alp was born and raised in Turkey, but went to study French cooking in Paris. Alp came to the States and was a chef at the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center in New York. He credits his time in Paris as being a big influence on his style, but he maintains the traditions of Turkish food and culture, creating the perfect fusion dining experience.
Adding to the experience at Zeugma is a fresh, welcoming decor, evocative of a seaside taverna. The space is opened up and completely renovated (looking completely different from when it was occupied by a steakhouse) with different seating areas, a lovely mosaic-inspired mural, as well as an attractive wine bar upfront (Zeugma is in the process of securing a California wine license, but you can also BYOB).
Other dishes to try include the tender grilled octopus ($16), the miso calamari ($14), and the pan seared salmon, served with root vegetables, mustard mashed potatoes and garlic kale sauce ($24). The menu is well suited to sharing and even making a meal of hot and cold “mezze” appetizers. Other dishes we want to come back and try include some outrageous desserts. Of course, there is baklava on the menu, but there’s also a chocolate souffle with passion fruit ice cream or a slow cooked pear with red wine, topped with cotton candy & ice cream. We loved the Z Chef Special dessert (pictured below), a light pastry cream sandwiched between layers of French meringue with raspberry sauce.
Zeugma may be the best thing to happen to the Siena.
Zeugma Mediterranean Grill & Wine Bar, (open seven days a week for lunch and dinner) 44 S Park Street, Montclair, 973-744-0074