Efesus Cafe Shines with Turkish Cuisine in Ashburn

Live in a various space like Northern Virginia lengthy sufficient, and also you’re positive to get your fill of hummus, grape leaves, and kebabs. But in accordance with Esen Onat, there have been many dishes lacking from the menus of space Turkish eating places. Even her personal.

Onat and her husband, Cemal Kulak, additionally personal Anatolian Bistro in Herndon, however the couple stay in Ashburn. “My spouse needed to have one thing totally different from Anatolian Bistro,” remembers Kulak, who helped Onat open Efesus Cafe in February. (Kulak manages Anatolian Bistro whereas Onat manages Efesus.) “It’s exhausting to seek out the best individuals to make one thing uncommon.”

But collectively, Onat and Kulak assembled a Turkish-bred workforce that has what it takes. One factor that Onat declared to her kitchen workers: There should be bulgur.

Non-Turks shouldn’t think about the tasteless grain of hippie communes. Picture as an alternative one of the vibrant dishes this aspect of Malatya (the couple’s Eastern Anatolian dwelling metropolis). The ring molds of ruddy bulgur get their coloration from tomatoes. Finely chopped onions and peppers additionally say their candy, vegetal piece. A set of herbs and spices seals the deal for an unforgettable aspect that comes with the restaurant’s wonderful kebabs.

Efesus Cafe
Photo by Mike Ramm

All meals at Efesus start with freshly baked bread, and dough composes a piece of the menu with boat-shaped, cheese-filled pide, greatest topped with beefy sucuk sausage. You’re unlikely to seek out the vinegar-forward begendili spicy rooster anyplace else, so make it some extent to attempt the dish with its creamy base of whipped eggplant when you will have the prospect.

The couple selected the placement, previously one other Turkish restaurant, Oxus 7, as a result of it made it simple to choose their son up from faculty. The household focus is evident all through the restaurant, the place giant events that embody youngsters are a rule, not an exception.

The greatest approach to placate the wee ones? With a plate of katmer. The dessert wraps buttery, oven-browned phyllo dough round clotted cream blended with pistachios. Cut into 4 particular person triangles, it’s made for sharing. Your household will thanks for ordering it — and Onat for ensuring it’s on the menu.

Efesus Cafe, 20937 Ashburn Rd., Ste. 125, Ashburn

Feature picture by Mike Ramm

This story initially ran in our May subject. For extra tales like this, subscribe to Northern Virginia Magazine.

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