The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. We think Ephesus Kebab Lounge in Walnut Creek is one of the great wonders to be found in the world east of The Tunnel. Prompted by a couple of positive posts we had our first meal at Ephesus Saturday night.
This restaurant has been opened less than a year. Obviously much attention has been paid to décor as well as food and service. It is already a popular destination. Weekend waits can be over an hour, its imperative you make reservations.
Our meal was served at a very leisurely pace. First, we were shown the chilled small dish options on a tray. Our waiter, Dimitri, gave a very detailed explanation of each plate and answered all of our questions. We selected Circassian chicken (5.95), stuffed dolmas (6.95) and roasted/smoked eggplant salad w/ Anaheim peppers, tomatoes, onion, parsley, vinagrette (5.95). The dolmas were a little on the bland side. Eggplant salad was our favoriterich and smoky.
Next we selected from the hot small dishes: calamari in beer batter w/ garlic vinagrette sauce (7.95) and layered borek of spinach and feta (6.95). Both were good; chilled dishes were better.
The kebabs can be ordered on their own or as an entrée w/ rice pilaf and pita. Since we wanted to try as many as possible we ordered single servings of top sirloin (8.95), chicken (9.25), Sonoma lamb (10.95), kofteground lamb and beef (8.95)and salmon with rice pilaf. They were all good. Our favorite was the lamb.
We were also pleased with our wine selection, a 1999 Lake County Shooting Star Shiraz decanted through a fountainlike filter into a beautiful Riedel decanter and served in Riedel glasses.
We ordered 2 of the 3 desserts: figs stuffed w/ hazelnuts and chocolate and burnt rice pudding perfumed w/ rosewater. The rice pudding was exceptionally rich and perfectly seasoned. The figs sounded better than they tasted. Mr. Chowfishs Turkish coffee was not as strong as he likes.
Our waiter was very attentive and well informed about the food and the way it was prepared. The owner, Camille, said the staff is put through very extensive training. (In fact, Dimitri was being shadowed by Jason. It was Jasons first night and he was watching every move). Dimitri made it clear that if werent happy with any dish he would be happy to take it back.
Ephesus also offers a number of vegetarian dishes.
Our meal was not cheap--$150 pre-tip for 3 w/ 1 bottle of wine, San Pelligrino and a couple of special fruit drinks for the Chowchild. We didnt feel we overpaid. We over ordered so as to sample. We spent a very enjoyable 2 hours in a delightful space with superb service. We will definitely return.
(Street parking can be hard to find, although not as difficult as in SF, but there is a garage in the same block that charges only 50 cents per hour.)
Ephesus Kebab Lounge
1321 Locust Street