You know that an ethnic cuisine has managed to gain purchase in a city when restaurants open that serve a regional version of the cuisine. The Courtyard Grill has moved beyond generic Middle Eastern cooking to offer specifically Turkish and Persian cooking. While the eats have many similarities to the familiar menus of places like Byblos and Lebanon's Cafe, everything here is different enough to add a new wing to your personal house of flavors. The Turkish dishes in particular bring a new excitement.
When it's time for Turkish food to preoccupy everyone's lips, this pleasant cafe on Magazine Street will be a very busy place. It's familiar, but not entirely. Turkish food gave birth to all the other Middle Eastern dishes. And Persian cooking is even older. The Courtyard Grill cooks a wide range of it all, from street food to more complex dishes.
The Courtyard Grille opened in 2010. The owners and chef are both from Turkey. The chef is professionally trained and has been in the business a long time.
If the weather is tolerable, most diners sit on the large porch that runs along side of the converted cottage. The dining rooms inside are colorful and pleasant, too. The service staff is largely family, and keep up a conversation about the wonders of Turkish food and culture with the many customers who know all about it. Last time I was there, I encountered the former consul of Turkey to New Orleans. Turkish movies play on the TV screens.
The portions here are tremendous, and even when I've arrived ravenous I've never been able to get through more than about two-thirds of the entrees. It's part of the Turkish food culture to have several big platters passing around among all the diners at a table.