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Restaurant review: Tatamy’s Mersin On Main

I’m back with a special secret.

I picked up a hot lead on a hidden gem with authentic, showstopping food. On the hottest day of the year, my mother and I made a date with Mersin On Main in Tatamy. It’s a new(ish) establishment offering staggeringly fresh and flavorful Turkish cuisine.

After a meal here you will be glowing. The Mediterranean Diet makes me feel like I can run a marathon without training. You’ll be begging your family and friends to join you here. You’ll also be calling to order takeout (nearly) every night.

I’m talking baba ganoush, moussaka, hummus, piping hot pita, and shishkabobs galore. Mersin On Main’s owner, Erdinc Uzun (from Mersin, Turkey) has traveled the world and brings his charm and experience to Tatamy for a truly memorable experience.

Follow Main Street through Tatamy, and you’ll find this special place.

The restaurant sits on a bend in the road along Bushkill Creek. Formerly located on Nazareth’s Main Street, the restaurant found a new home about five months ago. I hope the Nazareth faithful come out to the new digs.

On the outside, it’s hidden in a humble building facing cornfields. Upon entry, you are greeted by a floor-to-ceiling black and white photographic mural of a downtown metropolis reminiscent of Istanbul. This, combined with the sublime scents from the kitchen, transports you to a faraway place.

An open kitchen is to the right, with about 15 tables for intimate parties of two or more. The interior is calm yet colourful. Hues of gray and yellow compliment the space and the cuisine, which is served on beautiful wooden lacquered table tops.

The lighting is dim, and blends with natural light pouring through the windows to create a peaceful atmosphere.

There was no music, which I preferred. There was only the humming and hissing of the kitchen grill. That was melody enough for my ears.

On our midweek night, the spot had about four tables booked. Folks did come and go for takeout. The service is wonderful. They were short-staffed (who isn’t?) but you’d never know it, because the food came out in the blink of an eye.

Though a single server tended to everyone, she was calm and sweet. She swiped my card at the table, which I like. It gives me peace of mind. I hear they do that in Europe.

Uzun, charismatic and glowing (I’m tellin’ ya, folks, this Mediterranean food!) came around to all the tables to check in. He told us that they are finishing up a deck on the second floor for outdoor seating. This will be a marvelous addition.

The service and the décor combined for a laid-back and relaxing experience.

The main attraction is, without a doubt, stop the presses, hold the door… the food.

This was truly something special. I have never eaten such fresh and genuine flavors. According to Uzun, it is all made from scratch. No ingredients are frozen.

I don’t know where to begin, but I have to, so let’s start with the appetizers.

Mum and I got the “Mixed Mezi Plate” because we couldn’t pick just one or two things from the appetizer list. This mix had it all: hummus, eggplant and tomatoes (which was the richest and most flavorful taste of the night — smokey and sweet), grape leaves, mixed vegetables, babaganush, and tabouli. All of this was paired with warm bread straight out of the oven. It was absolutely delicious.

This lineup hit it out of the park. It’s the perfect thing to split among a group. Highly recommend.

Now for the main events.

We ordered a couple of dishes to go, such as the Shepherd’s Salad — a divine mix of cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, dill, and bell peppers. This tasted like you picked it from your own garden.

We ordered the chicken shish kebab- or “shish” as they call it. The dish is full of spice and cooked to juicy perfection.

My mum got the Alexander — a deconstructed gyro, served on top of buttered bread, with a thick tomato sauce and a side of yogurt. I went for the Moussaka, which I have never had. If you haven’t either, let me tell you, it’s my new favorite dish.

Typically served with ground meat but replaced with mixed vegetables by Uzun, this casserole dish is decadent. Sauteed eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and carrots are mixed into a casserole and baked with cheese and béchamel sauce. The flavor is smokey, almost like a french onion soup, yet sweet — just like the eggplant and tomato side served in the Mixed Mexzi Plate.

The food portions are large, so prepare to order things to share, or take to go. It all came out steaming, cooked fresh right there. You can taste it, you can feel it.

Again, the word of the day is flavour. I have never had so much subtle yet bright flavor in one meal in my life.

I am looking forward to returning with a bottle of wine, and imagining that I am in Turkey.

Yesterday my mother said to me, “Madelyn, I am feeling so wanderlust. It’s summer. Let’s go somewhere!” Our schedules at the moment don’t allow for jetting off somewhere, but we did travel to somewhere exotic last night.

Dining at Mersin On Main truly made me feel like we were on a quick Turkish vacation as we enjoyed fresh, and whole foods made with intention.

How lucky are we to have people like Uzun who love sharing their culture and food with the world? And how fortunate that they found their way to the Lehigh Valley?

Madelyn Dundon is a freelancer for The Morning Call.

Where: 200 Main Street, Tatamy

Contact: 610-438-0540 mersinonmain.online

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sun; 11 am to 8 pm Mon.-Thurs.; 11 am to 9 pm Fri.-Sat.

Prices: Starters $6-$14, Entrees: $17-$26

Bar: BYOB

Credit cards: And it is

Accessible handicap: And it is

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