I finally tried Shiraz and came away with mixed feelings. I really want to like the meals put out here, but there are so few people eating there - they need help and need it badly to stay open in the area.
I'm a HUGE fan of the Capsian Bistro, and have been since I first visited in early 1990 (first vist was 18 years ago), and that's a record for me to be a continual repeat customer and recommender because most of my faves seem to suffer "restaurant strokes" - they thrive and excell, and then a few small incidents/breakdowns here and there kill off the business so that by the time the owners realize something is wrong, or they get funding to fix it, it never attains that original peak again.
But, the Caspian Bistro is an all time favorite of mine and I have and still recommend it all the time, and even though I can't afford to eat there everyday, I wish I could. Today, since I was in the west end of town, I decided to try out the Shiraz Fireroasted Cuisine because Jeremy Iggers thought it was good.
Shiraz has a lot in place that can make it great, it's just, in my opinion, underpar enough so that the "Tailgate Sports Bar" is taking all the parking space and getting all the business.
The menu is solid and there aren't too many dishes on it so perfection of each is possible. I started with the hummus and I thought it was good, if grainy, (but then I eat hummus with any texture and make it in many variations and graniness at home as well). It had a pleasant taste and was, I think, homemade. While chatting and drinking a glass of wine, the hummus had enough flavor and 'pull' to keep me dipping in for more - always a good sign.
I also ordered the Chicken Soldani entree - house salad ( this was usual - mostly iceberg [had some romaine and other greens] with a couple of cuke slices and roma tomato slices and a house vinegrette - everything I've ever had and expected and had before), basmati rice, one skewer of chicken and one skewer of chopped chicken - neither of which were what I've experienced for so many years at the Caspian Bistro. The "whole" chicken part of the kabob was pounded, boneless chicken breasts, marinated briefly, if at all, and then grilled (thankfully at least grilled). The ground chicken part - koubideh - was very good and very nice, and didn't even seem "ground" - a very pleasant surprise, and it was also grilled.
The only thing I found totally inferior was the rice. Shiraz serves a basmati with a bunch of saffron infused rice on top with the typical pad of butter. The sumac is on the table in a shaker. This rice was very "greasy" compared to Caspian's, as well as what I make at home, so I think there was a lot more oil involved in cooking it, and possibly it was texmati? or calmati? breeds???....I don't know...just saying it was very inferior to what I'm used to at both the Caspian Bistro and at home - aged himalayan basmati.
I will say that the prices are cheaper at Shiraz, but the price cuts seem to be on the meats rather than on the rice, but may be both. A small rise in menu prices for increased quality in products used wouldn't be a bad thing for the restaurant at all. And, since they're stuck next to the "Tailgate Sports Bar" (with that tail end of the pickup sticking out of the building), they may as well try to get some tapas or munchies, or small plates or whatever going into the bar to sell a bit more since I can't imagine that bar has any food worth writing home about.
Overall, it's a very OK place food and price-wise. It just needs a lot more customers and a lot more input from current and frequent customers, and then, some subsequent changes before it's going to be a "to go" spot.
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