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Had out of town visitors last week: they like their food but generally don't plan trips around their food, but had only two stipulations: a decent chelow kebab, and a decent burger: yep, not exactly what the Bay Area is known for!
For the chelow kebab (Iranian kebab), after some googling and looking through these boards, decided on Maykadeh in North Beach. Although it's frequently mentioned as a recommendation in passing, not much by way of actual write-ups on CH that I've found.
Setting is a nice space in charming North Beach. We had to use two cars, and only one of us found street parking, but there is an $18 valet option (for 3.5hrs), which is not too bad given one can use it to explore the neighbourhood as well.
Service was above average for an Iranian restaurant. We mostly ordered kebabs: mostly the ground meat 'koobideh' but also one 'barg' (filet) and one roasted salmon for the one person in our party who only ate fish meat. The koobideh was excellent I have to admit: it was very juicy, which can be technically difficult to master, although the liberal lashing of butter (I think), which is not traditional, probably helped in that direction. The rice, which is also an important component, was merely passable. The roasted tomato that comes on the side was also superb, with a nice smoky flavour and sweet and juicy. I like that the koobideh is a mixture of ground beef and lamb, which is the optimal way of making it, but many American Iranian restaurants just use beef since it's cheaper. The barg, which I tried a little of, was decent: it's not my thing when I go to an Iranian restaurant, but it was a tad a notch above, but not the best I've had. I heard the roasted salmon was delicious. The portions were large: koobideh comes with two large skewers and could easily feed two if having other courses (we didn't except for bread and herbs to start-- but I shared mine with my daughter, and I don't think I could have finished it otherwise).
My only gripe was the price: I can't remember exact prices, but I think the koobideh was $27++ and the barg was $40++. This is at the very upper end of Iranian restaurants in my experience and one can certainly have as good (in SoCal at least, where there is a lot of competition, admittedly) for significantly less.
Will I recommend it: if one is absolutely insisting on chelow kebab in SF, probably yes, but I don't have any comparators (and would be interested to hear from CHers for alternatives in SD or the East Bay). But if one is also going to SoCal, or other major metro areas for one's fix, not really.
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