I recently had 3 nights to kill in West LA/Santa Monica and decided to take advantage of the plethora of Persian restaurants in the area. So Javan, Shamshiri, and Shaherzad it was - three consecutive suppers. (I avoided several of the others based on comments on this board.)
So what's my verdict? Well, they are all good, but different. Food-wise they were fine, and truthfully I could not pick one over another on the basis of food alone. Hard to do the apples-to-apples comparison as I really didn't want to have the same entrée at each. But I did have the same starter, kashk e bademjan, the eggplant concoction. I liked the preparation at Javan and Shaherzad better than Shamshiri. I think they put dolmeh (grape leaves) in it which is non-standard but good.
I did end up having kebabs at both Javan and Shaherzad and bamieh stew (okra in tomato sauce over a lamb shank) at Shamshiri. The kebabs were all good, but the okra/tomato sauce was nothing special. I suspect Shamshiri's kebabs are right up there, though.
The wine lists were comparable at all three - not extensive and nothing fancy but quite suitable.
The big difference was in service and atmosphere. Javan was the most elegant, but was quite empty - dare I say dreary? - when I was there (6:30 on a Wednesday). The service there was workmanlike. Shamshiri was the friendliest (by far) and was bustling, although the room is a little funky (the only one with no tablecloths). Shaherzad was also full - Friday night - with a more upscale décor than Shamshiri, but the service was slightly on the disdainful side of perfunctory.
Prices were about the same.
So if I had to pick one, which would it be? Probably a toss-up between Javan and Shamshiri, depending on my mood. Quiet and depressed: Javan. Ebullient: Shamshiri.
Curious to learn how this compares with other hounds' experiences.
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