And you thought I was long winded? I have edited my sister Marilyn's first Chowhound post, only slightly. She has never been onto the site so I have just condensed some of the post, that's all:
"I grew up in SF, but haven't lived here in many years, so when I come to town, I love to take advantage of the City's huge treasure chest of diverse restaurants. I am especially drawn to the many authentic ethnic places of which San Francisco is so rich. When he heard I would be visiting, my brother Bob sought recommendations over Chowhound, and we decided to start with Alborz for real Persian food. It was every bit as good as I expected.
We started off with the complimentary appetizer plate of onions, feta cheese, and fresh basil, cilantro and mint leaves. At first the quartered raw white onion looked a little intimidating, but it broke neatly into slices and made a perfect combination with the other ingredients on pieces of fresh lavash. We didn't use the pats of butter that came with it, and probably should have asked for advice on how it is traditionally incorporated, but I suspect it is spread on the lavash before "smashing" on the feta and herbs as we were instructed to do.
For another appetizer we ordered Kashk Bodemjan, a delicious puree of smoky roasted eggplant, garnished with thin strips of crisply fried onion, with garlic and mint, and streaks of yogurt sauce. I am a huge eggplant fan and try it in many forms, whenever I see it on a menu, and this was one of the best.
We also shared the Tah Dig as an appetizer; the crusty layer of rice that forms on the bottom of the pot. I know from my Persian friend that this is a real prize for the chef or whomever is lucky enough to get it. At Alborz you are able to choose one of the stews on the menu to be served over it. We had been thinking of getting the Fesenjoon (dry roasted crushed walnut in a pomegranate sauce) as a main dish, but our server suggested it might be a good opportunity to try that in a smaller portion, since it is a very "authentic" (acquired ??) flavor. The sauce is a dark brown, smooth, rich and very sweet with a tone of tartness reminiscent of tamarind. It was a perfect contrast to the buttery, crusted rice. It has a intriguing flavor, which I imagine could become addicting. We were glad we ordered it as an appetizer, though, as portions here are large, and the sweetness might have been overwhelming in a larger amount. I would also like to try the Tah Dig with one of the savory stews; I think it would also be excellent, and a totally different taste experience.
Bob's wife Ann and my 18-year old daughter, who are pretty plain eaters, decided to share the Super Barg (combination chicken and filet mignon kebabs). The Kabobs were huge, served with a roasted tomato and a humungous band of combined white rice with brilliant yellow saffron basmati rice which I have enjoyed many times at my friend's home. They split the order and it was plenty. They said it was very tasty. Bob and I declined their offer of a taste, as we had plenty of delicious and more "interessting" things of our own to try.
We ordered the Gehymeh Bodemjan, a beef stew in a thin, fresh tomato sauce with small chunks of tender beef, yellow lentils, dry limes, and chunks of eggplant cut in large strips that resembled meat on a bone. We were pleasantly surprised to cut into this "meat" and discover the added bonus of this flavorful eggplant.
We also shared an order of Baghali Polo with Lamb Shank served in a pale, dill-flavored broth with tiny lima beans. The meat was moist, tender, and flavorful. It was served with a large platter of basmati rice, this one flavored with plenty of dill, slightly on the dry side, but in perfect combination with the lamb and its tasty broth.
All our food tasted like they had spent hours in the kitchen - all fresh and homemade. I felt like we had been treated to a meal cooked in a friend's home. Service was good and the restaurant attractive and modern.
We had plenty of rice and a little of Bob and my main dishes to take home for lunch the next day. Unfortunately, we left no room for dessert, but I would be anxious to try the Faloodeh (frozen rice noodles sweetened with chilled rose water) or Bamieh (fried pastry dipped in honey) on our next visit."
1245 Van Ness Avenue (At Sutter )
San Francisco, CA 94109