Since I'm already in a reporting mood, I thought I would share a few thoughts about one of my family's favorite places in Houston - Cafe Caspian. We've eaten here many, many times and have never been disappointed.
Cafe Caspian is located out on far west Westheimer just before the Comp USA store. I'll attach a link below. (Note - for some reason, the menu on the website is NOT the complete menu - just a sampling.)
As with Istanbul Grill (see post below), one of the real stars of the show here is the free starter you get when you sit down for your meal (Persian "chips and salsa" as it were). Before your meal you are served a large round of persian bread (similar to pita, but HOT and usually DIRECTLY from their oven) along with a plate of feta cheese, onion, radish, and herbs (parsely and basil mostly, I think). I think the point is to put the stuff in the bread and eat (at least that's what we do). Very simple and a FANTASTIC starter.
Again, as with Istanbul Grill, my favorite part of the menu is the appetizer section. Specifically, an appetizer called "tadig" (pronounced, I think, "ta-deek"). It is basically the hard crispy rice left in the bottom of the pan when rice is cooked, then covered with one or both of the two Persian stews, either GORMEH SABZI (kind of a spinachy stew with chunks of meat) or GHEYMEH (a brown lentil stew). I know, it sounds kind of funky, but believe me, it is GREAT!!!
All of the entrees I have had have been very, very good, but the star of the show always has been for me the bread with feta and herbs and the tadig. Most of the entrees I have had have been the typical shishkabob meals associated with Persian food. I usually get the beef or chicken koobideh (shishkabob made with ground meat, reformed and pressed with spices) rather than the plain steak and chicken cuts, as the koobideh always seemed more moist and flavorful. Another great thing about this place is that you can get different "toppings" on the rice which is served with your entree. These toppings are an extra two or three dollars but are well worth it, in my opinion. My favorite topping is the one with cherries and nuts.
Chowhounders, if you haven't tried this place, its worth the drive. If you have - let me know what you think!