7305 Tyler’s Corner Drive
West Chester, OH 45069
|Hours:||Sun-Thurs: 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Friday-Sat: 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Several months ago on a Monday, just after my husband and I had moved into our house and were working on fixing it up, we decided we were hungry for dinner and wanted to eat out. A few places came to mind, and we drove around from place to place. It brought about a question we’ve always wondered:
Why are all the best restaurants closed on Mondays?
We tried Sichuan Bistro, we tried Asiana, we tried a few Lebanese places and even the elusive Red Square – which we have been trying to go to for a year now. All closed.
So we decided to drive around some more and see what was open in West Chester. We passed by a place we had never seen before – Sultan’s Mediterranean. The building looked dark, and we joked about how even they were not open. But, being a new place in a little strip mall not far from our house, we decided to return the next day.
The next day for our lunch break from working on the house, we showed up at Sultan’s in our paint smothered clothing and torn up jeans. The parking lot was relatively empty, but the front door was being held open by a little block, and according to the hours on the window they should have been open, so we wandered on in. We were surprised to see such a fancy looking interior, with comfortable looking booths, fancily decorated tables, a swanky bar and an open kitchen where we could see a bunch of people in chef’s clothing working. Aside from us and the chefs, nobody else was in the restaurant. We felt terribly out of place, and when they looked up at us they all fell silent. They looked at each other then one female chef ran up to us and told us “I’m sorry but we’re not open for lunch yet.”
“Yet?” we wondered. We apologized for wandering in and quickly decided on the little Indian buffet behind Sultan’s for our lunch. After discussing it, we decided to return later that evening much better dressed to see if they were at least open for dinner. They were, and we found out when the owner visited our table that this was their soft opening, and their grand opening was to be Friday of that week. We told him we loved their food, and that we would be back as soon as we could.
Well, today we finally made our way back, and boy am I ever so happy that we did.
It was around 3:30-ish, right between the lunch and dinner rushes. We’re weird and like to plan our going out to restaurants during their off times – at least as best as we can. Sometimes we still go during rush times, but we try to avoid long waits whenever we can.
There were about five tables filled up when we went in, and the noise level was pretty low. We were seated rather quickly in a booth. I noticed that while sitting in the booth it felt like we were the only ones in the room. Our waiter soon came by, he was a jolly and humorous fellow, and gave us our menus. He gave us some suggestions on the menu and then went off to help other customers.
Last time we had not gotten any appetizers or wine, so we got a large portion of the hummus as well as the smaller portion of their falafel. Being in a Mediterranean restaurant, we decided to look for a wine near that area. The first one we saw was a dry Turkish red from 2009 called Yakut by the Kavaklidere winery.
The hummus and plate of three falafel came out pretty quickly. The falafel were nice and hot, and the hummus came out with a black olive in the center and a basket of pita cut into triangles. The hummus was at about room temperature, and tasted fantastic. The pita bread it came with was really good too. Although we had one big slice to split between the two of us, we still ran out of pita bread, so our waiter brought us out more at no extra charge – always a plus. Since we now had more than we needed we used the extra to contain the falafel as we dunked them in the sauce they came with.
For dinner, we decided to try different things from what we had ordered last time. Previously, Adam ordered the Lamb Chops and I had ordered the Special Beyti – both of which were fantastic meals. The menu has a lot on it, so we asked the waiter for his suggestions. He said his favorite main course is the Donor Kebab, and from the Ottoman Specials list his favorite was the Sautéed Lamb, so that’s what we tried.
The Donor Kebab is lamb and beef chunks that were once kebab-ed and grilled, but are removed and put into a tomato-y sauce with sautéed onions, bell peppers, and had on the side some rice pilaf, a big half of a grilled green pepper and a big slice of tomato. It was very delicious, but, I think I liked the Special Beyti a bit more. The meat in the Donor Kebab was tender and juicy, but also well done – which is much more done than I usually like my meat. The sauce and veggies were all really good, but just weren’t as great in my opinion as the Beyti was. The Special Beyti, in case you were wondering, is ground lamb shoulder skewered and grilled, then wrapped up in a pita with some rice and veggies on the side.
Since we still had extra pita bread, I used some of it to soak up a bit of the extra sauce and put a few of the onions and peppers on it, which was really good.
The Sautéed Lamb was every bit as good. It is simply very thinly sliced lamb sautéed and served with a side of rice, tomato half, grilled green pepper half, and a small salad. The lamb was tender and it was also cooked a lot more than we would like as it was cooked all the way though. Very similarly to how well done my lamb dish was, but the chefs at Sultan’s managed to cook it in such a way that was really good. Neither of us have had good experiences with lamb that didn’t have a little pink in the middle until this evening. Suffice to say both of our meals were really, really good. And, they give you enough to have some leftovers to take home and enjoy again later.
I already knew what I wanted for dessert – baklava. I absolutely love it. Adam wanted to get something different, and since we were both curious what our waiter’s favorites were, we asked him his opinion too. He brought out a little cart with covered desserts for us to see all of our options. There were only a few; baklava, pistachio pudding, rice yogurt, and I think a couple more. The waiter said his favorites were the pistachio pudding and the baklava, and that is the two that we chose. We also ordered some Turkish coffee.
I’ve never had a baklava that I didn’t love, and the baklava at Sultan’s is no exception. The pistachio pudding was really, really tasty too. The Turkish coffee was good as well, but it’s something that is really not for everyone. Turkish coffee is served in a tiny cup, has the grounds still in it, and is supposed to be exceptionally caffeinated. Caffeine doesn’t really have any effect on us, so we can’t really testify to that, but if you are a big coffee lover and don’t mind a little sandy texture to your coffee, it’s really good. To be honest, I can only drink it until the last sip or two, then I have to stop as the bottom of the cup is usually just all coffee grounds – and I find that last swig or two to just be unpleasant.
Overall, we had a pretty good experience at Sultan’s. Our waiter was really friendly and offered up some good suggestions, and the food was great. The prices for the appetizers and the desserts were not so bad – around $4-6 each, and the entrées were really a great price too – the Donor Kebab only being $8 and the Lamb being $9. Most of their entrees are around $8-13, with only one pricing less and only two or three going above that. The most expensive items are the Lamb Chops and the Family Special, which is meant for four people. The most expensive item on our bill was, not surprisingly, the wine and without it our bill would have only come to around $44 before tax and tip. For the type of restaurant they seem to be going for, they are really affordable. They could probably get away with charging a lot more for their dishes, but I hope they don’t as I don’t think we could go back very often if they did.
Have you had good experiences at Sultan’s too? Know of other great Turkish and Middle Eastern restaurants? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Verdict: You Need To Go
Sultan’s Mediterranean is affordable classy dining, hidden in a little strip mall in West Chester right off I-75. Okay, you wouldn’t look bad going in your jeans, but the air of the restaurant makes it feel like you should dress more appropriately than in your tattered jeans and work shirts – like we did the first time we went in. The food is great and there is a good variety of appetizers, salads, entrées and wines. They even have a vegetarian category if that’s your thing. Service was very quick, but we went while there were few other patrons in the restaurant, so it could vary during a busy weekend night. The parking lot is unfortunately small, so if it is packed expect to have to park in some other businesses’ parking lot.