Sunday, August 19, 2007

Alborz Persian Cuisine

You'll come for the belly dancers but you'll stay for the food


Actually, I can't vouch for the belly dancers, since they only dance on Fri-Sat and this was a rush hour date, but if belly dancers are your thing, you can inspect the photos on their website. Personally, I can do without dancers, belly or otherwise, but once you've had a taste of the goods at Alborz, it will be hard to do without Persian food, even if you have to endure a belly dancer to experience it.

A somewhat Perisan co-worker of The Woman hipped us to this hip joint. Oddly enough, it's right across the parking lot from Satay, which as you remember, is one killer Thai joint. If you were to position me in the middle of the parking lot, exactly halfway between Satay and Alborz, I might become like the fabled donkey that starved because it was placed equidistant between two equally desirable bales of hay and couldn't make up its mind.

(I once spent an entire dinner arguing with my college roommate, Fred, about whether this was possible or not. Yes, not only did I grow up in Fred, Texas, but my roommate was named Fred, too. It made things confusing in college, since people called me Fred because I was from Fred and they called him Fred because he, well, he WAS Fred. That might explain why I didn't finish college. Well, not at that school, anyway. Actually, it doesn't explain it at all, but there's only so much time for one blog post, isn't there?)
Getting back to the point at hand (and you thought I forgot) the food at Alborz is exceedingly good. You may be wondering what Persian food is like. It's kinda like a cross between Greek and Indian. And just think how good both of those are!

The thing about going to these places with lots of wonderful things to pick from is that you can't try everything because a feller can only eat so much at one sitting. But you have to try. And there's always the doggie bag. Or the lunch buffet. So we ordered an appetizer recommended by the server, Kashk-o-Bademjan. I mean the appetizer was called Kashk-o-Bademjan, not the server. It's baked eggplant with a topping of kashk (dry yogurt), mint, sauteed onions, walnuts and garlic. I was leaning toward the Borani, a mixture of sautéed spinach, onions and spices with homemade yogurt, which I'd still like to try, but perhaps we'll save that for the belly dancers. I can tell you the Kask-o-Bademjan was a winner. It seems a strange combination, but it works.

For the main deal, we let the server talk us into a beef stew, something I would not normally get on a first visit. But she didn't steer us wrong. (Heh, heh.) It was the Khoresh Gormeh Sabzi: fresh green herbs sautéed and stewed with kidney beans, dried lemon and tender chunks of beef. The flavors elevated it far beyond any stew I have experienced. To call it stew seems to undersell it, like calling a Porsche a motor vehicle. We also got the lamb kabob, with juicy, tender lamb. It was served with lima beans, which seemed odd and wasn't The Woman's favorite.

We don't usually have room for dessert, especially after having an appetizer, but I felt like having some coffee, so I ordered coffee and baghlava, a pastry made with walnuts and almond paste. She gave me the option of American or Turkish coffee, so I went with the Turkish. It was a tiny cup of strong coffee, basically espresso. It was exactly like the coffee in France and brought back some memories of the days of world travel on the company nickel. While I like to try new things, after a few weeks of knocking around on little sleep and strange cuisine, it's nice to get a decent sized cup of coffee that's not quite so bitter, so I would eventually locate a Starbucks and order an Americano, which is about as close to American brewed coffee as you can get over there.

Alborz has been there 7 years but the guys at the table next to us had never heard of it, so it might be one of those well-kept secrets. In which case, you should sneak on over and try it out and get the world-traveller vibe going for yourself. And tell the dancers I said hi.


Anonymous said...

Great writing. This blog, too, is a best-kept secret. I'd tell my friends if I had any. Spread the word, people.

texaswatch said...

I've never really liked fancy food, like French food, or sea food. My favorite is Texan food, simple and spicy!

Brad Whittington said...

Well, I wouldn't call beef stew that fancy. But if you want spicy, Aloborz does it, and if you want even more spicy, go across the parking lot to Satay.

I like Texas, BBQ, TexMex, steak, etc, and I'm very into spicy. Thai and Indian are some of the spiciest food around, significantly more spicy than Texas food.