Over the past couple weeks, we have been getting tons of feedback. After scouring through endless piles of letters, postcards, and e-mails (ok, maybe not piles), I quickly realized a change of pace was much-needed. So this past weekend, I embarked on a journey to the beautiful, tranquil Mediterranean. Instead of booking a trip overseas, I simply drove over to Reservoir Ave and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Efendi’s. Located in Cranston, RI, Efendi’s specializes in authentic European (Italian and French) and Mediterranean (Turkish and Greek) cuisine.
The menu was very diverse and every entrée, salad, and appetizer seemed to include the various Mediterranean concepts and flavors perfectly. I scanned the menu and quickly noticed a favorite of mine….Spanakopita.
Spanakopita is a traditional Greek (some say it originated from Turkey) pastry and consists of layers upon layers of Phyllo dough and stuffed with spinach and Feta cheese. The combination of the smooth, creamy spinach and crumbles of Feta is truly a match made in heaven. I’m also a huge fan of Phyllo dough because of its natural thinness and sweetness which results in the lightest, flakiest bite imaginable. Overall, it’s the perfect appetizer to order and Efendi’s hit a Home Run with their rendition of this classic Mediterranean pastry.
We finally decided on our dinner entrees and here we have a Traditional Greek Salad with Marinated Grilled Shrimp. The vibrant colors and bold flavors were the stars of this show. Fresh, tender, Romain Hearts provided the foundation to this wonderfully crafted salad. It was then bordered by a cornucopia of fresh veggies including sweet Bermuda onions, Kalamatta olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and banana peppers. And the Feta you ask? It was nestled safely over the bed of greens. The salad was paired with a skewer of grilled shrimp and the hints of oregano, lemon, and garlic lifted the dish to another level. I was very pleased by the presentation and most importantly, the taste!
Next up were the Lamb Kabobs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and a medley of Roasted Vegetables (picture atop of page). I rarely eat lamb, so it was a treat to order this baby. I ordered the Lamb Kabobs medium in order to enjoy a moist, flavorful bite and the chef cooked them perfectly! The smoky, char exterior and tender, buttery interior of the lamb was pure bliss.
The supporting cast was just as good. The heaping mound of potatoes were infused with finely minced garlic and left the palate with an explosion of flavors. Roasted asparagus, zucchini, and red peppers added a necessary crunch to the dish and provided an amazing balance of texture and taste.
And here is where I got greedy – not only because I was semi-full, but also I was expecting an out of this world dessert. The appetizers and entrees were amazing so I guess expectations were high. I was torn between freshly made baklava or a “leaning tower” slice of Chocolate Mousse Cake. As you can see, I went with the Mousse Cake. I was afraid of a Phyllo Dough overload, so I played it safe and in the end, got burned. Although it looks tantalizing, the cake was missing something (vanilla? cocoa?). Which was disappointing because all of the desserts at Efendi’s are homemade. Each bite had the consistency of a wet sponge. Hhmmm I LOVE spending $6.99 on a wet sponge! The mousse tasted like whipped cream and further fueled my anger towards this devilish dessert.
Efendi’s is a must-try for those native to the Cranston, Warwick, and Providence areas. It’s one of the few place in the state where you can enjoy classic, Turkish and Greek cuisine and it’s one of the best restaurants you’ve never heard of.
(3.5 Lamb Chops out of 5)