To Pasha owner Mustafa Ozsoy, his restaurant does not serve food to customers, but to friends.
The Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant, which celebrated 15 years of business in July, gets its name from the highest honorary title given by a sultan during the time of the Ottoman Empire. To Ozsoy, the name represents how he treats the friends who come to his restaurant.
“When I hire someone, I tell them, ‘We are not only serving food here. We are hosting our guests here,’” Ozsoy said. “You can get food anywhere in America—even at the gas station— but that’s not the point. It’s more than that, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do here with our clientele and our friends.”
Ozsoy, a fan inspired by the travel docuseries of Anthony Bourdain, said part of the joy of his time at Pasha is bringing the tastes and cuisine of his home country for people in America to try for the first time.
“It’s all about culture, and you take your culture everywhere, whether it’s cuisine, the way you dress up, the way you celebrate—everything,” Ozsoy said. “The history, the region and the climate affect all cuisine and all culture, and we honor that and are proud of that.”
Turkish culture can be tasted in all of the food made in Pasha, whether it comes from one of the many savory lamb, beef, chicken or shrimp kebabs; the freshness of the vegetables, hummus, olive oil and pita bread; or the sweet and bitter combination of Turkish baklava and coffee.
No matter what a guest at Pasha orders, Ozsoy said he takes pride in serving them quality Turkish cuisine.
“The Mediterranean diet is definitely healthier than some other cuisines because we use olive oil and lots of vegetables,” Ozsoy said. “We love food, and we honor the food and the quality, recipes and presentation of it.”
2325 University Blvd., Houston
Hours: Tue.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., closed Mon.