300 El Camino Real
Belmont, CA 94002
So after a long weekend in Tahoe jading our palettes with greasy, deep fried American fare (not that I’m complaining), grizzly and I stopped in Belmont for something east of the beaten path. We were both in need of something refreshing and different, and I’m soo glad we remembered Mary’s recommendation.
Once seated in the comfortable yet lavishly appointed dining room, we were immediately served a warm basket of homemade lavash (baked fresh in a wood fired oven in the dining room!) alongside strong feta cheese, walnuts, and several greens including mint and cilantro. The idea is to make a wrap and eat it that way. We ordered the Kashk-e-Bademjan to start, a savory-sweet eggplant puree topped with minty yogurt. It was perfect for spreading all over the bread, and honestly, it will probably become a kitchen staple (next to hummus) if I can get my hands on it at the supermarket, or figure out how to make it. Delish.
We then ordered a combination plate to split – a giant platter of lamb chops, ground beef meatballs, and grilled chicken, served alongside fragrant saffron basmati rice and salad. As a rule, I think Persian food tends to be a bit acidic – as in, they really appreciate vinegars and tart fruit juices. It was really reflected in how they flavored the meats – generously dusted in turmeric and saffron, but dripping in a distinctly sour marinade, which cut through what otherwise would have been overwhelmingly dense and meaty (though I don’t think grizzly minds that – what a carnivore!). The lamb chop was soo soft and only slightly gamey tasting. The meat fell right off the bone, and it was soooooo delicious. The chicken was a slight let down – the breast was a tad dry and the flavor didn’t quite make it to the center of the meat. The ground beef meatballs were surprisingly tender and very succulent – not at all dry. They were faintly spiced more than the other meats but still carried the familiar tangy sharpness.
The meal came out to about $60 for both of us, but there was easily enough leftover for another meal. The staff was pretty helpful in offering helpful but unobtrusive hints about how to enjoy and properly eat everything. The quietly subdued and very inviting ambiance, along with the to-die-for food (Kashk-e-Bademjan!!!) will definitely keep us coming back in the near future.