So, Turkish Restaurant Week in Washington, D.C. is over. Turkspot team visited 3 of the participating restaurants, and we will be writing about our experience right here!
First we want to write about Ezme – Meze‘s sister restaurant. Ezme opened its doors in March, so it is a relatively new restaurant. We did not have the chance to eat there before, but we will definitely go back.
The dining room resembles a cellar, especially close to the entrance. The lights were dim. There were big ceramic glazes (çini) hanging on the walls. So, you can safely take your date to Ezme for a romantic dinner.
We started the dinner with a cup of lentil soup. We liked the soup. Some of us loved the texture – it wasn’t completely blended, you could easily see lentils. The appetizers arrived right after. We tasted all 4 items on the Turkish Restaurant Week menu – Sigara Böreği, İmam Bayıldı, Karnı Yarık (simply İmam Bayıldı with ground meat), and Muhammara. The information below is extracted from Ezme’s menu:
- Muhammara: Roasted red pepper spread with walnut, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic
- Sigara Böreği: Turkey’s popular crispy cigar-shaped pastry stuffed with feta cheese, parsley and dill
- İmam Bayıldı: Baby eggplant stuffed with sautéed peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic
- Karnı Yarık: Baked eggplant stuffed with ground lamb and beef, onions, peppers and tomatoes
Sigara Böreği, İmam Bayıldı, and Karnı Yarık was really delicious. Muhammara got an OK from one of the Turkspot editors.
It didn’t take long to reach the main courses. We ordered Hünkar Beğendi, Adana Kebab and Döner Kebab. Again, we are ripping off the definitions from the restaurant menu:
- Hünkar Beğendi: Braised lamb served on an eggplant puree with gruyere cheese
- Adana Kebab: Grilled ground lamb and beef on a skewer, served on a bed of rice and ezme salad
- Döner Kebab: Delicious very thin sliced lamb and veal combo cook on a vertical skewer
The first thing we noticed is that the portions were really small compared to any standard restaurant out there. However, we should add that Ezme, just like its sister Meze, might be serving food tapas style (the prices on the regular dinner menu are really low implying they are more like tapas). We liked the Hünkar Beğendi, but it was not the best Hünkar Beğendi according to our Hünkar Beğendi expert. Specifically, we were expecting chops of meat on our Hünkar Beğendi, but there was a big chunk of meat instead. Adana Kebab tasted great; however it wasn’t really well-done although we asked for a well-done kebab. Döner Kebab was pretty good; the meat was tasty and the slices were thin, which was served on top of traditional Turkish-style rice. Overall, the main courses tasted very well but there is room for improvement.
For dessert we had profiterole (cream puffs with chocolate sauce) and baklava. God were they delicious! Baklava had pistachio pieces (as opposed to walnut pieces). I personally believe pistachio baklavas are way more delicious than the ones with walnuts. Baklava at Ezme was not an exception. Profiterole? Wow! Very fresh cream puffs and delicious chocolate sauce. It was the best part of the dinner.
At the end we ordered Turkish Coffee and brewed loose-leaf tea. We liked both. The fact that Turkish coffee cups looked authentic left us with a big smile. No, we didn’t have our fortune told as we spent too much time for dinner on a weekday night anyway.
Before we forget, Ezme is a very nice wine house. They serve a variety of wines including a few Turkish wines. We had a glass of Öküzgözü, and it tasted very well.
Now non-food related stuff: Making a reservation at Ezme was easy. The bathrooms were clean. The staff was friendly and the service was prompt.