DINING OUT: Exotic eating at El Sultan

Egyptian-born Ashraf Gabralla has been serving up authentic Turkish fare and Egyptian dishes at his restaurant, El Sultan, for the past 13 months.

“Sometimes, the mix makes the difference,” Gabralla said, adding that his kitchen is halal. “You give people the room to choose. They come in for falafel and want to try something new.”

Gabralla said that he is the only one in the area who serves Egyptian pies ($4.99 to $11.99 for a personal pie, $8.99 to $19.99 for a family size), which come in sweet and savory varieties, filled with anything from pastrami to custard.

“People come from as far as New Jersey to get it. It’s very famous in Egypt,” Gabralla said.

Other Egyptian treats include baked macaroni with béchamel sauce ($4.99), grape leaves ($7.99) and sausage stuffed with rice ($7.99).

First we tried the most popular plate, the Chicken Adana Platter ($6.99 for small, $11.99 for large), which featured a lively mix of chopped chicken with red bell peppers, paprika and garlic, molded into sausage shapes and grilled on skewers. It was extremely tasty and spicy but not hot. It was served, like all other platters, with fluffy white rice and a refreshingly tart salad of lettuce, chopped cucumber and tomato with parsley. The rice paired well with the flavors of the chicken.

Next was the Adana Kebab ($7.99 for small, $11.99 for large), which had ground lamb with red bell peppers, paprika and garlic, molded into sausage shapes and grilled on skewers, as well. The meat was savory and spicy, with layers of flavor that played gracefully on the tongue.

The Falafel ($5.99 with hummus, $6.99 for a platter with rice and salad), was delightfully crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Filled with spices imported from Turkey, it was unlike any falafel we had ever tasted, with a haunting top note of cinnamon and back notes of hot pepper that tantalized without overwhelming the palate.

Next we tried the Sigara Boregi ($4.99 for five pieces), which are egg-roll shaped tubes of filo dough, filled with feta cheese and parsley, deep fried. They were crunchy on the outside and soft and a bit salty in the inside – a perfect combination of flavors and textures.

We washed it all down with truly delicious tea (complimentary with dine-in meals), brewed with mint, cloves and cinnamon. Served piping hot and a bit sweetened, it had a complex flavor that was a great compliment to the food.

Another tried and true customer favorite, is the Chicken Shish Kebab ($6.99 for small, $11.99 for large), for which Gabralla won an award from foodie website GrubHub, for having the “Best Chicken Shish Kebab” in the area.

For dessert, we had the Sugar Pie ($4.99 for personal – which was big enough to feed both of us, with leftovers, $8.99 for family size) which had layers of filo dough, deep fried and covered with powdered sugar. Reminiscent of zeppole, thanks to its dusting of sugar, it was chewy, gooey, and seriously addictive.

We left El Sultan feeling full, but not weighed down, and already planning our next visit.

El Sultan

7904 Third Avenue


Open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Free delivery in Bay Ridge and parts of Dyker Heights

Catering available

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