Despite being in just their first week of business, every dish we tried was just as good as anything weve had at the other more established Persian kebab restaurants in the area. There are, however, two stand-out dishes that blew us away, and will therefore be the focus of this particular post.
The Kashke-Bademjan, described on the menu under the appetizers as sauteed eggplant mixed with grilled onions, garlic, and whey(?) turned out to be far more exotic than the baba ghanouj we were expecting. The eggplant is presented with two toppings: the Kashke, which the owner described as a lighter, healthier Persian take on sour cream; and what, at first glance, appeared to be a mysterious dollop of oily poppy seeds, instead turned out to be dried mint fried in olive oil. While the Kashke added a bit of dairy tart to the eggplant, the dried, fried mint added a surprising smokiness to the eggplant along with its seedy texture. The resulting mixture is perhaps the most unusual (and wonderful) eggplant dish that Ive ever had.
Sultan Kebab features one set daily special, most of which are either stews or rice and meat pairings. The menus description of Saturdays special, the Bhagali Polo with Lamb, lavishes all of its attention on the rice only to unceremoniously refer to the lamb as simply a shank of lamb. In fact, the generous portion of lamb, substanial enough for two to share, arrives glistening, and the tender, slow-cooked meat hardly needs any fork tine coaxing before it falls of the bone. But the rice also demands respect. Though it appears, at first, that the rice itself is green, it has actually been thoroughly mixed with shredded dill and flecked with lima beans. At points, the dill has been added with such a heavy hand that it appears as tiny, weedy clumps amidst the buttery rice. The only shortcoming of this dish is that the rice was ever so slightly too buttery, though in my mind, such a shortcoming only adds to this dishs home-cooked appeal.
Get thee to Sultan Kebab in Old Town at:
1024 Cameron St. (at Henry St.)