Sultan's Mediterranean Cuisine is a new restaurant located at 7305 Tyler's Corner Drive, just off Tylersville Rd. It resides in a strip mall adjacent to a country club entrance; as such, the lot was filled primarily with luxury vehicles the night we arrived.
The ambiance evoked memories of another favorite of ours called Cafe Mediterranean. There are two sections to Sultan's: a large, open dining room when you first walk in and a small, intimate room on the left with the bar. We were led to a table there, sharing the area with about 10 other diners.
Interior features are somewhat upscale, with a color scheme heavy of dark burgundies and purples, accentuated with silver. The walls serve host to a number of paintings depicting life in the Mediterranean. Dimmed lighting combined with the tall, stock strip-mall windows left shadows dancing throughout the room. A single, bright overhead beam softly illuminated the center of each white-clothed table, as though the food were set on a stage.
The nearly three-month-old restaurant came recommended by a co-worker; that coupled with our being fans of all things Mediterranean made the decision to try it easy.
We started off with an appetizer called Piyaz, a light bean salad of Turkish origin. It's a mixture of white beans, tomatoes, parsley, red bell pepper, onions and a "special dressing" made up of olive oil and spices. The appetizer was refreshing, with a flavor well complemented by the accompanying basket of addictive, grilled pita bread.
Service was prompt, friendly and courteous. We fixated on the waitress as she presented a tray of dessert props to the diners at a neighboring table: seduced by the power of marketing, we nodded to one another sternly upon eying the Baklava. We. Must. Save. Room.
As if the beans weren't enough, I further taunted the mighty flatulence gods by ordering the stuffed cabbage rolls, filled with rice, ground lamb and beef, onions peppers and herbs. The girlfriend made a futile attempt at out-gassing me with her Baked Casserole, a hearty vegetarian stew chock full of eggplant, tomatoes, string beans, potatoes and carrots, all baked and served in a clay pot.
There were four cabbage rolls altogether, served with a slightly sour, milky-white yogurt sauce. The cabbage was tender and the filling's earthy richness made it difficult not to devour all four. But there was Baklava, damn it, and so I saved one roll from an early demise. The girlfriend enjoyed the flavors of her meatless stew; its complexity pleasantly surprised even a hardened carnivore like myself.
Next came the Baklava. It arrived as three pieces, as though we were expected to challenge each other to a duel for the last piece. The dessert was everything one could hope for in Baklava: it was sticky, it was nutty, it was flaky, with slivers of pistachio and honey and butteriness and sweetness all vying for the tongue's attention.
The restaurant clientele may have initially made us seem like paupers, but when we exited that evening, we left as royalty. Hokey? Sure, but one thing is clear: Sultan's is a great bet for quality Mediterranean in West Chester.
Price: Moderately Expensive ($11 - $16 per person)