AYSE Meze Restaurant Review & Frederick Food Blogger Meet-Up

This weekend I was finally able to go out and enjoy some of the great food my new city has to offer.  Saturday night a group of Frederick food bloggers got together to try out the new restaurant, AYSE Meze.

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ASYE Meze is named in honor of the owner’s late mother.  Asye (pronounced Aye-sia) was her name, and meze is Turkish for “small plates” or “delightful tastes. ”  It is basically the same idea as tapas, but with Greek and Turkish flavors and cuisine.

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                                                                        In the lounge/bar area {Source}

This meet up was organized by Sarah at Food and Frederick.  The other great ladies that I got to meet were Liza, Tara, Shannon and Karen.  It was really fun to get together with a group of women and be able to talk about all things blog and food related.  Bonus: not feeling strange and awkward for taking pictures of our food!

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                                                                        Dining Room {Source}

ASYE Meze is a brand new restaurant in the Everedy Square/Shab Row area of downtown Frederick.  The decor was clean and classic, and I loved the big, bright windows that lined every wall.  We were seated in the bar area, which was pretty spacious.  There was also a really cool lounge area (pictured above), that would be perfect to sit and enjoy a glass of wine and few “mezes.”  Like all new restaurants, there are some kinks to be worked out, but overall, both the food and service were great. 

I will start by saying that our server was very familiar with the menu and was able to answer any questions we had about the dishes.  She made some great recommendations and described the dishes with a lot of knowledge. 

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We started with the dip sampler, which came with 6 different spreads and warm pita bread for dipping.  Starting from the top left and moving clockwise, we had gemlik zeytin (olives, peppers, feta, garlic), tzatziki, muhammara (red peppers, walnuts, pomegranate molasses), babaganoush, hummus, and pasa ezmezi (feta, yogurt, beiber, jalapeno and parsley).  My favorite of the dips was the pasa ezmezi.  It was salty and spicy right up my alley.  I could have eaten a whole bowl full!  The pita that was served alongside was perfectly soft and warm. 

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I highly recommend the saganaki (kasseri cheese flamed with mezteca brandy and lemon), not only because it was delicious, but they light it on fire at your table!  So much fun!

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We also tried the cheese sampler platter which featured (clockwise from top left) malnouri (with figs, honey walnuts and sherry vinegar gel), grilled haloumi (with cyprus tomato jam and marcona almonds), sigara borekgi (feta and goat cheese wrapped in phyllo with apricot spoon sweet) and bulgarian feta with watermelon, olive oil and jalapeno).  If you know me, you know I LOVE cheese, so all of these were great.  My favorite among them was the grilled haloumi with the tomato jam.  Delicious!

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Then it was on to our “entrees.”  There are no real entrees at ASYE Meze, only small plates, but we all chose a different meat or fish meze.  I had the scallops, which were amazing!

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The xtemia (sea scallops served over a fennel salad with a sweet potato mash and a mint mustard butter sauce) was to die for.  The scallops were HUGE, sweet and tender and cooked perfectly.  The fennel salad was a nice refreshing contrast to the rich sweet potato mash and the mustard butter sauce brough the whole dish together.  This was my favorite dish of the night and one I will definitely get again!

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We finished the meal with dessert.  I am not a huge dessert person, and actually even less of a chocolate dessert person, so I surprised myself when I ordered the cikolata kestane pastasi (flourless chocolate-chestnut cake).   It was very rich and very chocolately.  I am glad I ordered a cup of coffee to help cut through the sweetness.  It tasted great, but this is one dessert I would rather share to be able to get the taste, but not be overwhelmed by the richness.  If chocolate is your thing, however, I’m sure you would love this!

When we arrived, the restaurant was nearly empty, however by the end of our meal it was totally packed!  I think this fact affected our service.  While I wouldn’t describe the service as slow (quite the opposite, actually and our server was very attentive for most of the meal), it took a while to get our checks and we were checked on a lot less often towards the end.  This minor detail is my only real complaint. 

Overall, dining at AYSE Meze was a great experience, and I will certainly be coming back! 

It was a great evening getting to meet other Frederick food bloggers and a great way to get out and start enjoying my new city!  Thanks, again, to Sarah for organizing the event!

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