Written by Chris Boyle Friday, 22 November 2013 00:00
If there’s one thing that Westbury has a lot of, it’s restaurants. But when it comes to the best Turkish cuisine, most locals can agree on one thing— Mediterranean Kebab House on Post Avenue is the only game in town.
Memet Arslan, owner of the Mediterranean Kebab House, came over to the United States from Turkey about 13 years ago. He had owned restaurants back in his home country, but the Mediterranean Kebab House is his first one in America. This year mark the tenth anniversary of when he first opened its doors to the public.
"I was always involved in food in my country, and when I came here, I still wanted to be involved in that business,” he said. “I started out in the kitchen, and that’s where I do my best work.”
To some, journeying to a new country and starting up a restaurant might be a daunting task, however, Arslan said he knew both the business and what people need, so he went into his new venture with confidence.
“It wasn’t scary, because I know how to cook, and I know that people need to eat,” he said. “People are never going to stop eating, so I thought a restaurant was a great thing to open.”
Going strong for 10 years is a testament to the success of the Mediterranean Kebab House. But like any independent business, Arslan said he is feeling the sting of the country’s recent economic downturn. However, he said he is uniquely equipped to ride it out to better times.
“It causes some problems, but I can handle it because I do everything myself. Not as many people work in my kitchen,” Arslan said. “I’m always in the kitchen. I never go anywhere, so we still do well.“
This intense work ethic typically sees Arslan at his restaurant seven days a week, with the occasional Monday taken off. Needless to say, all of this dedication to his craft has left him time for little else.
“No time to marry, I’m always thinking of the kitchen, of cooking. I would like to marry and have some kids, but I have no time now,” he says. “When I make something in the kitchen, I really enjoy it. When I do that, I’m so happy, that’s why I will always cook.”
In the meantime, Arslan’s restaurant pumps out an impressive array of Mediterranean and Turkish food, however, the expansive menu represents only a fraction of his culinary skill, he said.
“I have so many dishes — anywhere from 75 to 100 different dishes — although I personally know about 2,000 different dishes,” Arslan said. “At my restaurant, we have many different appetizers, grilled meats, sauces, desserts. We have it all here. Nothing is fried or frozen, everything here is fresh and grilled. You will enjoy it.”
We were lucky enough to sample some of Mediterranean Kebab House’s wares, and can report that they do indeed live up to the lofty reputation that has been spread by way of his satisfied customers.
We tried the Chicken Kebab, served on a bed of rice with a side of Shepard’s Salad. The chicken was juicy and tender, and was well-complimented by the addition of the rice, which was cooked to perfection; soft and fluffy, as rice should be. A real surprise, however, was the Shepard’s Salad, which was new to this reviewer. A concoction including diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion, this provided a delightful companion to the main course, capping off this healthy and delicious meal.
“Just come in and try it for yourself,” Arslan said. “I’m not going to say anything else besides telling people to try it one time, because that will be enough.”
To find out more about the Mediterranean Kebab House, visit their website at www.medkebabhouse.com.