How is it that I could have lived here as long as I have and not noticed the abundance of Middle Eastern eateries that we have here in Columbus? Recently, I became aware of a new restaurant, Cafe Ephesus, that had opened in Dublin, started by a chef who had formerly worked at Cafe Istanbul and Cafe Shish Kebab and wanted a little more creative control.
Located by the Giant Eagle in the shopping center at Perimeter Loop, Cafe Ephesus is fairly non-descript from the outside, easily missed if someone isn’t looking for it. However, once inside, it’s fairly easy to forget about the location and just settle in and enjoy one’s meal.
We were presented with a basket of complementary soft pita, along with some flavorful oil-based dipping sauce.
For his appetizer, my husband chose a bowl of their vegetarian Red Lentil Soup ($4), a hearty mixture of red lentils pureed with various other vegetables and spices, which turned it into a thick, flavorful soup that he thorougly enjoyed.
Since we were joined by one of his former co-workers for lunch, we opted to get the Large Meze Platter ($16), which is a selection of several different appetizers that they have on the menu. Although this selection is nearly identical to that offered by similar restaurants, it was executed beautifully. In other restaurants, there were small issues that prevented us from thoroughly enjoying every item, but that was not the case here – everything was done exactly as it should have been. The baba ganoush was exceptionally good.
Since I opted to go with the lunch special ($8 for 3 courses), I had to choose a separate appetizer, and I went with the soslu patlican since it is one of my favorites. The chunks of eggplant, sauteed and then tossed with a tomato sauce, was extremely delicious.
For my entree, I chose the Chicken Kebabs, mainly because I wanted to compare it with kebabs I had elsewhere. Their version was especially tender and juicy, flavorful and served without all the extraneous grilled vegetables that detract from the dish elsewhere. Instead, one gets a small “salad” that is dressed nicely and paired beautifully.
My husband went with the Iskender Kebab platter ($13), which is garlic pita covered with a mound of doner kebab (think gyros, only grilled after it’s sliced), topped with a tomato sauce redolent with Middle Easter spices, and served with yogurt on the side. He said it beat the Iskender kebab from the others hands down, and was easily one of his favorite dishes anywhere. In his mind, this restaurant requires a return trip for this dish alone.
Service was very friendly, with our needs attended to before we even a had a chance to realize that we needed anything. We left with a good feeling, looking forward to our next trip. While it is a bit of out of the way, it’s an excellent choice for those who live or work in Dublin, and a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.
If you’d like to go: Cafe Ephesus, 6720 Perimeter Loop Road, Dublin, 614.798.8091