After many positive reviews I finally had a chance to try this gem in Walnut Creek. My partner and I had the fortune of experiencing Ephesus on their One Year Anniversary, which was last night (Saturday, Aug. 9th). Thank god we made reservations, the place was packed! So in addition to great food we also had great entertainment...there was a belly dance show I shall not soon forget!
We experienced food like none other. Circassian chicken (pureed walnuts with Turkish red pepper, garlic, and paprika olive oil) was our absolute favorite. Other delicious starters included roasted eggplant salad and a carrot yogurt salad. My partner is still raving about the zucchini cakes (shredded zucchini with feta cheese formed into a small round cake and fried, which is coupled with a yogurt garlic dipping sauce).
For a main course I decided on the top sirloin entree, while my partner was more adventurous and went with the stuffed eggplant entree. The top sirloin was perfectly cooked. My only gripe was the I wish it was spicier. I mentioned this to my waiter. Surprisingly he came back with a small dish of a 16 spice mix that the owners import from Turkey. I sprinkled a little on and the result was amazing. I told the waiter they need to start packaging and selling those spices. I've never experienced anything like them. My partner was perfectly satisfied with his eggplant dish, which was stuffed with thin slices of leg of lamb, roasted tomatoes, and onions.
We finished with a unique Turkish dessert called Bird's Nest. It consisted of shredded phyllo dough, carmelized walnuts and a honey Bailey's whipped cream. I was stuffed, but still managed to clean the plate!
A complete surprise was that we were brought glasses of complementary champagne to toast Ephesus' first year and a gift certificate for $10.00 off our next visit. I don't know of any restaurants that do that kind of thing anymore.
Our server mentioned that the owners are in the process of creating a new Turkish restaurant concept set to open either in Berkeley or Palo Alto next year. I'll be interested to stay tuned to see what they create.
As a side note, someone had mentioned before that the people working at Ephesus were all beautiful...I didn't think it would be true...but it is! Especially the owners, a husband and wife team who could both be models. And they're young too. Ugh, people like that make me jealous, but they're doing a great job. I have to give them that.