We had just a quick lunch visit, but very pleasing nonetheless. With the exception of the default low pile, strip mall carpeting this is a handsome and casual room. A few walls painted deep burgundy and the rest outfitted with rectangles of blond wood panels. Tasteful imported rugs and linens compliment the tables and booths. But I aint an interior designer and this is a food site, so on with the meal.
Everyone gets the standard complimentary plate of raw onion, parsley, radishes and feta along with a basket of addictive flat bread. Just on the verge of golden with small indentations here and there, it was a fairly unique style flat bread which had more in common with a foccacia that had only been allowed to rise one time as compared to say pita or naan. Crunchy top and soft insides, it was damn good with a spread of feta and a slice of mild raw onion. They sell extra to go for $2.50. We also ordered a pot of tea, which was a decent Earl Grey.
We didnt try any appetizers but they had standard things such as babaghanouj(sp?), hummous, tomato and cucumber salad, etc. The wife tried the combo kabob plate for $8.95, which included one ground chicken and one ground beef with rice and a broiled tomato and half a lime. They were well seasoned, were nicely browned and still juicy.
I had an unpronounceable stew of beef, split yellow peas and a whole roasted eggplant in a tomato sauce. A bit on the mild side, but it was livened up with a few dashes of sumac, salt and white onion. This too came with a side of rice. The rice. This was masterful rice. Every grain separate, warm and seasoned. I dont care what type of starch you are cooking, if you dont season/salt the water you cook it in, it wont taste the same as when you try to salt it when its done. The cook has their rice cookery down to an art.
I asked for a paper menu to go but they didnt have any as the waitress said they were getting ready to change the menu and didnt print up many new ones. The clientele was mainly Iranian families on a Sunday afternoon along with one other single diner who told the waitress his brother-in-law was Iranian. I believe they have dinner specials during the week and weekends. Check it out if you are in the area. Its a nice joint. There is also a well stocked Indian grocery two doors down where we got a huge bag of basmati rice, some naan and a jar of mango ginger pickles. A little further is a steamy and mysterious unidentified Asian baker called Rice Bakery. We were ready to go in but there was no one at the counter, an empty display case and stacks and stacks of prefolded cake boxes. Maybe next time.
851 S Roselle