The decor of Epice is very clean and open. There's lots of off-white marble and honey colored wood. It's very chic without trying too hard. I love the open bar and prep area as well as the rock wall in the kitchen pass-through. The building is located across the street from Burger Up, but because it lacks a sign it can be easily missed.
As soon as we were seated our waiter brought us some pita bread and oil for dipping. You can tell that the pita was freshly fried and spiced. The herb oil was very nice but I had a hard time putting it on my pita. I think I needed a small spoon or something, but since I didn't have one it lead to aggressive dipping.
I have to say that our server was one of the funniest I've ever had. He was knowledgeable about the menu, polite, and at the same time had a wicked sense of humor that kept Aubrey and me giggling.
Before we even got our appetizer Epice gave us another free snack. It was a very light salad that was tossed with the perfect amount of dressing. The lettuce was fresh and I especially enjoyed the cabbage and radish that were mixed in.
For our appetizer we ordered the kibbeh which is ground beef in a wheat crust. They were charming little balls of meat with a very interesting texture- kind of chewy on first bite, but much like seasoned ground meat in the center. I absolutely loved the sauce that was served with it, which I believe was seasoned yogurt and cucumber.
For my main dish I ordered the Batinjan which contained roasted eggplant and ground beef. I wasn't the biggest fan of this dish, mostly because I found the eggplant and meat combination just a tad too mushy for my liking. The stewed eggplant had the strangest consistency to me, but I know that this is a personal thing. I can say that it was seasoned perfectly and had very good overall flavor. My favorite part of the dish was the big slice of fried eggplant. It was like the best potato chip I ever had and I wanted many more of them! Also, the rice was fabulous and the yogurt sauce that I loved made another appearance in this dish. When I mixed the sauce with the eggplant and meat I liked it much better.
Since it was girls night out we had to order to desserts. Fist up was the Roz be-haleeb which is rice pudding with orange blossom infusion served with cinnamon-sugar pita. This might be my favorite dish of the night, mostly because rice pudding is a nostalgic favorite of mine. It had a light floral flavor and the pudding was thick and rich. I would highly recommend ending your meal with this.
Our second and final dessert was Katayef, or crepes. One was filled with a sweet mild cheese and the other was filled with sweetened walnuts. I loved the walnut crepe because of its crunchy nutty texture inside a soft pillow of pancake. An added bonus for me was the fig served with the crepes. Figs are my favorite!
We really enjoyed our dinner at Epice. Although the prices are higher than any other middle eastern restaurant I've seen, I would say that the quality of the food and decor make the prices seem reasonable. We enjoyed our food and the service we received. Epice is another reason to brave the parking nightmare that is 12 South!