Friday, March 13, 2009

Ephesus on the Strip

Since moving back to Knoxville a year ago, I've had yet to establish a local Mediterranean restaurant as my go-to place, probably because I've had a hard time remembering where any of them are. Ephesus on the Strip was suggested, and yesterday's blustery weather made it the perfect day for some heavy Greek food.

Probably the one thing Ephesus doesn't have going for it is its location, unless you're a UT student. It's located in the middle of the Strip next to the Half Barrel, which means you've got to get creative for parking at lunchtime. I got lucky instead and found a street spot nearby, I guess because it was the Thursday afternoon before Spring Break, but it may be better to venture out for dinner, and they are in fact open for dinner every night of the week.

What I loved about it was that it's a sit-down place with the speed of fast food. Again, that may have had something to do with the impending Spring Break, but most Mediterranean restaurants I've been in in my life could be classified as fast food. The sit down and be waited upon bit was just a classy touch.

I ordered an open-faced Gyro (I think, strangely enough, it was called the Pocket Gyro) and a side of tabbouleh. Neither the gyro nor the tabbouleh was what I'd considered to be standard, but I liked that about them. The tabbouleh was redder and spicier than any I'd ever had. It was good, though I couldn't finish the whole side of it. The gyro was everything I dreamed it would be and more. The meat was tasty, the pita was super soft and warm and the sauce was creamy. And it had pickles on it. I never knew I'd been missing pickles from my gyros, but I know now and won't make the mistake again.

Apologies for the poor photo quality. I had neither my camera nor the staff photographer with me.

Anyway, I'd definitely recommend it. They have a large menu, and I'm interested in going back for dinner to try out one of the many platters they have or to take the baklava for a test drive. I also neglected to try the french fries, which I fully intend to do because there is something so wonderful about fries that have been cooked in the same oil as other Mediterranean offerings. There's no alcohol served though, so you'll have to find your ouzo elsewhere.

I guess if I were in the business of handing out wigs, I'd give Ephesus seven or eight of 'em.


Anonymous said...

I've heard this place is good on multiple occasions. Glad to hear it lives up to its recommendations.

micah daniel said...

I couldn't agree more with this review. Ephesus has come through for me many a time when i needed a quick hot meal on the strip. I've only tried the gyro, and can't convince myself to not get this when i go. So good.

PS check out the wall art in the hall by the bathrooms. simply stellar.

B said...

i ate there a long time ago and liked it. i do wish it wasn't on the strip, but then again, it's just what the strip needs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review, MG. For more good middle-eastern, also try the Holy Land Market out on Sutherland across the street from the grad student housing. It is a market/provisions place, but they have counter service with a full hot lunch menu and some tables, too.

Robert said...

Ephesus is the best! It kicks Nero's butt (the "on the strip Meditteranean competition")

The Modern Gal said...

Em: agreed

Micah: I didn't think to include the restrooms in my review, but I won't make that mistake again.

B: You're right, the Strip needs it. I just hope the Strip doesn't also do it in.

Nate: Holy Land is great too! We should probably do a post on all the wonderful Sutherland offerings. I'll put it on the to-do list.

Robert: Have you been there?? It totally intrigues me by its offering of Greek, Polish, Philadelphia and Chicago-style food all under one roof.

Anonymous said...

Always been a long time fan of Ephesus, though I will say it was much better back when AJ was cooking everything. Plus he was always exceptionally nice to us (he knew us by name) anytime we were there.

Mickey said...

I loves me a good gyro.

B said...

mickey, when are you leaving?