There's been a change for the better at Ephesus Mediterranean & Turkish Cuisine in Massapequa Park. Good as the modest-looking restaurant originally was, new chef-owner Funda Duygun takes it to a higher level.
To start, an assortment of cold appetizers ($11.95) included ezme, a spicy vegetable salad, tahini-rich hummus, a vibrant patlican salatasi, eggplant salad, and garlicky babaghanoush, eggplant puree. Flavors were almost startling in clarity and intensity. Served alongside: warm house-baked bread.
From the oven came a pide, the Turkish version of pizza, topped with a black, red and green pepper-spiked potato puree. The pillowy oblong pastry, cut into triangles, put me in mind of a very good knish.
Since a fish delivery had just come in, I went with a whole grilled branzino as a main course. Not only was it expertly seasoned and grilled, but at $17, was the equal of the $39 whole branzino I tasted recently at a trendy North Fork restaurant. Chicken shish kebab ($13.95), featured grilled cubes of moist white meat with a bulgur pilaf and grilled vegetables. Dessert was a rich and fragrant baked rice pudding ($4.25) served in a homestyle crock.
Ephesus Mediterranean & Turkish Cuisine is at 514 Park Blvd., Massapequa Park, 516-543-4258.
Above: Assorted dips and spreads at Ephesus Mediterranean & Turkish Cuisine in Massapequa Park