Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Cuisine: Persian Cuisine

As I was walking around the city with my husband last saturday, we started to feel hungry but neither one of us wanted to go to the same restaurants we'd been to. We are those people that love to try new foods and even if we absolutely loved a restaurant, we'd rather go seek out something new than do repeats. With so many restaurants in NYC you have to do that! So I remembered a restaurant I had read about on the upper East side that was Persian (Iranian). We had never had Persian cuisine so we stopped by a starbucks, asked the first person that we saw with a laptop if they could search the location of the restaurant for us, and off we went.
Shalezeh was our dining location for the night. We didn't really know what to order since it was all different to us but we really like eggplant and lamb so we went with a sampler of egg plant dips to start out with.
There was a plain one with lentils, a mint one, and a tomato one. They were served with flat breads like pita and a thin focaccia type bread.
The dips were good but as soon as we took one bite we thought "what a mild flavor." We like food with a lot of flavor so we thought this would be bursting with it. No... it was very plain.. until I decided to add the tahini that came with the bread basket to the bread and then put the eggplant on top. That made it 10 times better. But irregardless, the eggplant trio was delicious. Our favorite being the tomato eggplant dip!

Then the main course we ordered lamb shank with raisin couscous, cabbage and grilled onions. We were so excited to try it that I didn't get a chance to take a photo of the full plate, but here is a breakdown (literally)

This couscous was tasty with the broth, but on its own it was very mild just like the rest of the lamb. So my conclusion is that Persian cuisine is very mild. I can't speak for all Persian food since this was my first time, but I think I prefer more flavor in each bite. We didn't order dessert since it was baklava (I admit, I am not a fan) and all other desserts had rose petals or rose water (another ingredient I am not a fan of.) But we did enjoy some port wine and godiva chocolates after dinner. I am a sucker for both, and we had conveniently been to Godiva earlier that day, yes you guessed it, my favorite truffles, the Bakery dessert truffles...

To learn more about Persian cuisine you can visit this website which will give you a background on it and some recipes. Enjoy!

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