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Review: Ahmad's Persian Cuisine (Omaha)


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Review: Ahmad's Persian Cuisine (Omaha)

SmallCap | Aug 25, 2004 09:29 PM

Okay, so I'd been wanting to try Ahmad's for quite a while -- it's a rather new addition to Omaha's Old Market scene, & I'd read some nice reviews online.

Frankly, I was not impressed. I'll apologize in advance if that was not entirely the fault of the restaurant -- meaning, if some of my complaints are actually more about Persian cuisine & less about Ahmad's itself. For example, both my entree & that of my companion (one from the special menu, one from the standing) were served with identical saffron rice & stewed tomato. It seemed that even the seasonings were identical, although one entree was fish & the other chicken. There was virtually no difference.

The spiciness was at least nice -- the owner (Ahmad, perhaps, I don't know) had asked in advance if we "liked it okay spicy," & we'd said yes -- but nearly everything else (including two appetizers) was pretty bland. The yogurt & cucumber dish -- forgive me for not recalling the name -- was all thin yogurt sauce, barely any cucumber to speak of. The salads (included, thank god) were beyond bland, a small plate of wilted/brown-edged lettuce with some sort of sickly-sweet ranch-type dressing. I got the feeling that a salad course is not a traditional part of Persian cuisine, perhaps more of a concession to American customers who expect it... to which I'd say, if you're not going to do it right, skip it!

There were little annoyances, too... a dirty fork, cheesy wineglasses & wine served too warm, some gristle in the chicken, etc. Please keep in mind that I am not such a snit to only enjoy white-glove establishments, *but*: if you're going to charge $20 for an entree (& that includes the chicken) & $35 for a bottle of wine (that typically goes for $24), then those "little annoyances" can seem pretty big. I'm perfectly willing -- & frequently do in Old Market -- to pay those prices, but there are certain standards I expect for that overhead.

(I can't say if all of their wines are as overpriced as ours was -- there is no list, just a verbal iteration by the server -- so perhaps it's our fault for not asking. But the markup was seriously out-of-line.)

The staff, & especially the owner, were at least very welcoming -- maybe even too much, as we did feel a bit like fish in a barrel. But Ahmad's is the kind of "secretive seeming" place where every patron seems to know each other, & the owner knows them all. My companion & I felt a bit like outsiders but were given plenty of attention to attempt to compensate for that. I just could not shake the sense that the attention was being given in degrees of dollar signs!

Overall, I probably will not return -- not for the variety or value they offer.


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