The Grove is now home to a new Middle Eastern restaurant. Sultan Mediterranean Cuisine debuted on Jan. 12, featuring the cuisine of Kurdistan and beyond.

The family-owned business is led by husband-and-wife duo Akram Saeed and Jenar Mohammed. The Iraq natives came to the United States as refugees in the mid-1980s.

“This is our first time owning a restaurant,” says the couple’s daughter, Media Saeed, who serves as Sultan’s general manager. “My dad ran convenience stores before, but my mom loves cooking and it was always a dream of theirs to open a restaurant.”

Mohammad previously worked as a prep cook at Sameem Afghan Restaurant and now serves as the chef of Sultan, creating an extensive menu that includes everything from unique Kurdish dishes to her take on classic Mediterranean staples.

Sultan fills the approximately 2,400-square-foot space previously occupied by Erney’s 32 Degrees, complete with more than 20 tables across two dining rooms. A year-long gut renovation resulted in a clean, neutral-toned interior embellished with ornate red tapestries, colorful light fixtures from Turkey and decorative drink service vessels straight from Kurdistan.

“We’re very excited to represent our culture and bring Middle Eastern cuisine to The Grove. I think that’s the only thing missing here,” Media says.

From the menu, guests will find signature Kurdish fare such as sultan pilau – a phyllo pocket filled with basmati rice, lamb shank meat, almonds, pistachio, raisins, walnuts and carrots, served with salad and fresh naan. Another specialty, lahmajun, is a Mediterranean-style pizza topped with minced beef, onion, tomato and parsley.

Sultan’s set of offerings also features food inspired by areas from all over the Middle East. To that end, flavorful standards such as hummus, baba ganoush and falafel await atop the list of appetizers with mainstay entrees such as a chicken kabob platter served with rice, grilled tomato and fresh naan. 

Additional highlights include sheeshbarak, a Syrian entree option made up of steamed dumplings stuffed with ground beef, onion and parsley, cooked in a yogurt and mint sauce. Musakhan is a Palestinian dish of roasted chicken with onions, sumac, allspice and saffron served over bread.

To drink, choose from options including Turkish coffee, lemonade with fresh mint, laban – a salty yogurt drink, and pomegranate juice made with specially imported ingredients from Kurdistan. A variety of desserts are also on offer.

Sultan Mediterranean Cuisine is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30am to 8:45pm, Friday through Saturday from 11:30am to 9:45pm and Sunday from 11:30am to 8:45pm.

Sultan Mediterranean Cuisine, 4200 Manchester Ave., The Grove, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.390.2020  

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