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Feb 5, 2008 05:04 PM

Turkish Food at Café Artemis in Campbell… But Is it Better than Redwood City’s New Kapadokia?

I'll write this review Memento-like and start with the dessert. We ended our meal with the warm chocolate ouzo torte ($5.95) since we read a compelling review on Yelp by someone who wanted to, in Britney Spears' slurred words, "Eat it, lick it, snort it, f**k it." The ouzo torte was definitely f**kable. It reminded me a lot of Park Chow's warm chocolate cake. Yum, yum, yum! However, it differed from the menu description in several ways - 1) instead of caramel sauce we had chocolate sauce, 2) instead of vanilla gelato it came with coconut (tasty but didn't compliment it at all), and 3) there were a pile of pomegranate seeds on the sides. The cake, gelato, and pomegranate seeds all tasted really good... just not together.

The husband got the lamb kofte ($13.95) which consisted of ground lamb mixed with spices and made into a patty. They were good, but too lamb-y for me. He declared them better than New Kapadokia's similar beef kofte. I thought New Kap's were better; mostly because they were made of beef. (New Kap is an awesome Turkish restaurant in Redwood City that was our favorite Turkish place... until possibly tonight. We'll see how this review goes.) Also on the platter: bland tomato-flavored barley, white rice pilaf, grilled veggies, and tzadziki.

Another visit we tried the combination kebab platter ($16.95) and even thought it included five types of kebabs we *only* liked one - the lamb kofte.

I ordered the meze platter ($10.95) it included hummus (yummus!), tzadziki (a little heavy tasting), babaganush (okay but too white and looked like chicken salad), tabouleh, dolma (excellent), falafel, lentil kofte, and melitzanosalata (cold eggplant salad), as well as a platter of warm pita bread. The melitzanosalata was a nice (and tasty) addition since it's not listed in the menu as being included. I don't usually like falafel all that much, but they were nice and crisp here with a green interior that wasn't dried out. The lentil kofte was much creamier (like it belonged smeared on the pita) than New Kap's. The husband really liked it. I was split, but slightly preferred New Kap's.

Winner of Entrees:
Husband - Cafe Artemis
Me - Tie

Warm house bread is a nice touch, and it arrives with pinkish butter that's had some herbs added to it. It doesn't add as much flavor as it looks like it would. In comparison, New Kap's bread is addictive and has a really yummy butter spread.

Winner: New Kap

Busy. Had to flag someone down for a check. On another weekday nice they were very nice. The servers at New Kap by comparison are incredibly personable.

Winner: New Kap

One nicely decorated wall with fake atmospheric windows. One wall with real windows full of blinds. Cafe Artemis also has belly dancing Wednesdays.

Winner: Tie

Husband - Cafe Artemis (wow!)
Me - Tie (I still need to try the lentil soup at Cafe Artemis since I'm obsessed with New Kap's version.)

Café Artemis
1875 S Bascom Ave
Ste 300A
Campbell, CA 95008
(408) 626-8100

New Kapadokia
2399 Broadway St
Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 368-5500

Judith on Cafe Artemis:

Jeni Bean on New Kapadokia:

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  1. What makes the lentil soup special at New Kapadokia?

    Cafe Artemis
    1875 S Bascom Ave, Campbell, CA 95008

    6 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Like other Turkish restaurants they serve a spicy red lentil soup. It has a nice zing that's complimented by a squeeze of the lemon brought with the soup.

      Spicy red lentil soup has a much different flavor profile than your typical lentil soup (like you'd see at the store).

      1. re: katya

        For anyone interested, according to their menu the ingedients of the lentil soup are:
        Red lentils, red pepper paste, tomato paste, mint, black pepper, cumin, garlic, and corn oil.

        It just seems tastier and zing-ier in my small sample of other Turkish restaurants' soups.

        1. re: katya

          Katya, my apologies. I just happened to go there for lunch with my friend when I realized that the soup I had had previously was the lamb which was not as good. I think I just had a taste of the red lentil soup from my in-laws. Just a complete memory lapse:-) Not fair, I thought 40 was the new 30!

          Yesterday, I had the delicious lentil soup though more peppery than I would have liked (may have been just that day). For the main course, my friend & I ordered the "Sarma Beyti Kebab - Skewered ground spicy beef, served with garlic yogurt in lavas bread". Given this description, we assumed it was some sort of a wrap. Imagine our surprise when the cut kabobs were tightly wrapped in a lavas bread only & ladled with a red sauce and a dollop of yogurt in the middle of the plate. I am still new to ordering at Turkish restaurants so forgot what a beyti kebob was - no mention of sauce on menu. I immediately recognized this as a dish I had ordered at Sultana once (prefer the smaller cuts at New Kap). Although not bad, just not what I expected and I think I still prefer the kebabs, wrapped or otherwise, sans sauce. Also, the lavas was so hot that the outer layer was slightly dry/crisp . My friend got the baklava for dessert & this time it was crisp but still too sweet for my taste. And since the waiter said it comes with lunch, my friend took my share home as she loved it. Here's the kicker...didn't know their lunch special was $7.95 for soup or salad, entree, and dessert! Needless to say, we were ecstatic that we had this extremely filling lunch at such a great price!

          1. re: ceekskat

            I think I saw another review of New Kap once where someone referred to the lentil soup as being just okay, and I was flabbergasted! But maybe it's not for everyone (though for my friends and me it's our favorite part of the meal).

            I had the Sarma Beyti Kebab once and thought it was just okay. I think we were surprised by the sauce, too, and thought there was a little too much of it. Our favorite entree is the kofte kebab (5 mini hamburgers). I usually just order a bunch of apps for dinner. I get the lentil soup, and then I also really like the sigara boregi (cigars filled with feta and potato), the red lentil kofte, and the ezme (one of the best ezmes I've ever had).

            We've always had really good experiences with the baklava - crisp and not soggy - and thought it was the best we'd had from local Middle Eastern restaurants.

            I didn't know about the lunch deal. $7.95 FOR ALL THAT IS AMAZING! Is it only on weekdays or is it weekends, too?

            1. re: katya

              Ooh, a bad 'hound am I for not asking details about the lunch special. Sorry! Also, what is a "red lentil kofte"? Sounds like it would be dry.

              BTW, one of the best baklava's I have ever had was from Rihab in Belmont but that was a couple of years ago before ownership change (best being homemade by my mom's Turkish friend).

              1. re: ceekskat

                Red lentil kofte isn't cooked like lamb or beef kofte, in fact I'm not exactly sure why it's called kofte other than it's mixed together in a patty. Red lentil kofte is a cold mixture of um, red lentils, green onions, and herbs (parsley?).

                Thanks for the baklava tip. I always wanted to try Rihab when I lived on the Peninsula.

    2. I've only had a few dishes at New Kap including a vegetarian stuffed eggplant & doner. Started off lunch with an order of babaganus which was thickish, lacked flavor and was a bit cold. The lentil soup was good though I don't know if I'd obsess over it;-) Considering I have all the ingredients at home, perhaps I should give it a try! I didn't love the eggplant (just okay) as I felt it had too many whole garlic cloves and sliced onions (also has tomatoes). Also, this dish is very rich as I think eggplant requires quite a bit of oil to make it tasty. For dessert, we had the baklava which was not crisp enough & way too sweet. I wasn't particularly hungry at this meal & was with vegetarians otherwise, I would have ordered more.

      I had doner a couple of years ago but I do remember thinking "never again!". It wasn't sliced like I expected (thin & little wide) but rather more like french fries and felt it was a bit dry and not flavorful. Also didn't like the rice it rice?

      BTW, I've only had it once about a year ago but loved the combo appetizer/mezzeh platter at Sultana in Menlo Park. Last but not least, I LOVE lamb so perhaps I'll give Cafe Artemis a try (just wish it weren't so far away). Thanks for the review.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ceekskat

        We recently ate at sultana and also were impressed. I didn't have high hopes. We have eaten at New Kap and enjoyed it. The service was wonderful at New Kap, the food was good but not fantastic taste/value for me. But we had planned on going back. Instead, we ended up at Sultana though and had the pomegranate kebab stuffed with spinach and the lamb chop kebab, the baba ganouj and the chicken. The baba was solid, the chicken kebab for my kids was very good, the salads were fine, the other kebabs were very good, but the lamb chop was a bit tough. I would go back certainly. I didn't have the bulgur, and they happily subbed salad for my son, but my husband said it was fine. Not amazing but good.