ARTEMIS

The title of this short review does not refer to the Greek goddess of the hunt, but to Artemis Mediterranean Bistro (www.artemisbistro.com ) in the heart of Montgomery, Ohio, where we just had a wonderful experience.

Bistro here in the Midwest can often signify an eatery with a funky vibe and, at worst, worse than you suspected food. At Artemis, there’s no funky vibe but intimate surroundings, non-existent noise level, no TV blaring the latest football game, no sub-zero air conditioning, neither badly cleaned restrooms nor overly familiar “How you guys doing?” service, and no overcharging. Instead, we encountered on the first of what we hope will be many visits, spic and span surroundings, European-style service – welcoming and polite, a varied and reasonably-priced menu, and plenty of ambience, including white tablecloths, nice China, and shiny flatware, and- most important of all – delicious, generously portioned Turkish, Greek, Lebanese, and Middle-Eastern food.

At first, we had thought we would order take out, which we did by telephone, but when we pulled up into their parking lot, we got curious and decided to go in and sit down to what would be a very early 4 pm dinner or a very late 4 pm lunch. The Artemis opens on weekdays at 4 pm, so that kind of dictated what time our meal would be.

A very nice waiter remembered us because we had phone ahead and ordered what would have been our takeout, now dine-in meal. Our starters were waiting for us. They arrived to accompany a basket of warm pita bread already set on the table. – two bowls of delicious lentil puree lightly spiced for me, a bit too spicy for Kimberly, who solved the problem by taking two spoonsful of Haydari (strained yogurt with chopped walnuts, dill and just a hint of garlic) and mixing them into her soup.

After finishing the soup, we had enough room to finish the yogurt dish while enjoying perfect grape leaves stuffed with rice, herbs, spices, parsley, pine nuts, and onion. We were then brought the best rice puddings we’ve ever had – me since my grandmother’s traditional Cuban recipe – with a sprinkling of cinnamon and what I suspected was a good amount of cream in the mix.

I asked for and was brought a Turkish coffee (sweet you must specify since you cannot stir it) which I sipped cautiously and enjoyed immensely. Kimberly passed on that but reminded me how years ago she used to make Turkish coffee at home.

Our bill for dinner with tax included was $48. The gracious friendliness of the Turkish staff at Artemis Bistro reminded us of how we used to look forward to our youthful visits to Istanbul, the magical city that straddles two continents, and that combines European sophistication with a near Eastern culture thousands of years old, including its traditional cuisine. Artemis Bistro keeps that tradition alive, right in the heart of Montgomery.

Rafael de Acha

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