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Love the Lahmacun

Turkish pizza tops the menu at Ephesus

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It always seems like I find the best food at out-of-the-way places, like Ephesus Mediterranean Grill & Pizza. It’s in an odd spot, near Regency Target and AMC Theater, but it’s well worth the detour. Two words: Turkish pizza.

Ephesus specializes in classic and innovative Turkish and Mediterranean fare. The menu has the usuals, like moussaka, as well as an unexpected–but not unwelcome–selection of pizzas. I mean, they already have the equipment for their Turkish-style pizza. They may as well serve it up Italian style.

Traditional faves are featured in the starter category. I suggest the mixed platter app, which you can get in small ($14) or large ($21) portions. This is the whole kit-’n’-kaboodle, complete with hummus, fresh parsley tabbouleh, tomato-based saksuka, babaganoush and grape leaves.

There are so many textures, flavors and rich oils happening on this plate, it pairs well with the warm, rustic and fluffy housemade pita. (If you get something else, ask for  housemade bread!) Each dip was as it should be. For sure happy dance time.

I have to give a special shout-out to the saksuka, which I’d always thought of as a tomato dish with eggs cracked on top. It was served here sans egg, as a tomato-and-eggplant spread. The dish was delish, nevertheless.

Another honorable mention goes to the grape leaves. One bite of the warm vine leaves and vegetarian filling and you know they’re homemade.

The small version of this mixed platter has enough for an entrée, or you can share it among friends. If what I got was the small size, I can’t even imagine the proportions of the large!

Wanting to sink your teeth into some protein? Order lamb kabob with rice, pickled cabbage and carrots ($19). The server recommended this dish to be enjoyed medium-rare, and the cubes of lamb were cooked perfectly. The seasoning complemented the lamb flavor without overpowering it. It wasn’t a fatty cut, but the pickled veggies were a nice addition to the richness of the meat and the oily rice. Yes, the dish is a bit pricey for lunch, but lamb lovers will agree it’s worth it.

Back to Turkish pizza. If you’ve seen it on the Travel Channel, you’ll recognize Turkish pizza’s football-shaped form immediately. There are several meat and cheese options available–all as gooey, meaty and satisfying as you’d expect.

The lahmacun caught my eye. It’s all thin crust with minced meat, onions and spices ($13). This pizza-adjacent dish includes lightly marinated sumac onions. Sumac is a nice, subtle addition to fresh veggies like onions. Traditionally, sumac is  in raw salad-type dishes (fattoush is one of my faves–if you see it, order it!). Toss some onions on a flat pizza and take a bite. It’s a full-flavor experience.

There’s a lunch buffet ($8.99), but this time, the menu items looked better. As a rule, I want everything served to me! Delivery? Ephesus works with several services to get you those Mediterranean thrills so you won’t have to leave the house!

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If you have a recommendation or know of a new place, shoot me an email at food@folioweekly.com.

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