Shiraz - Persian food in Elmsford NY

My husband and I stopped in for dinner last night, craving something a little out of the ordinary. Am I mistaken or has this place been renovated since it first opened? It doesn’t look as I recall. I’ve only gotten takeout from here one time many years ago so I’m not really counting that.

They are going for upscale with the atmosphere, which is nice, and they mostly succeed. The lighting is dim and they had pleasant music playing. They have cool mirrors on the wall and nice white linens on the tables. One area I’d love to see improved is getting rid of the ugly drop ceilings and putting in some nice lighting fixtures. I loved the large photos (presumably of Iran) on the walls.

The service is well meaning but a bit clunky here and there. I have the impression this is a family run place (correct me if I’m wrong) and everyone is very friendly. But if they are going for upscale they need to polish their service a bit. For example, leftovers should be taken away and bagged in the kitchen and silverware should be changed between courses.

Food was mostly very good. I have cooked Persian food myself but I haven’t really eaten it. I like the sour flavors of sumac and pomegranate and yogurt so this type of food is really up my alley. We got a fantastic dip like tzatiki made with thick, creamy, sour yogurt and cucumber and an eggplant dip with crispy fried onions on top to have with the fresh made large round pita-like bread (but thinner and crisper). The pickled vegetables also made for a nice snack.

The lamb kabob was fine, although I guess kabob has different meanings in different places-- I expected chunked meat and it was a long strip that was frankly way too gamey for my taste although cooked to my requested medium rare. Much more enjoyable was the fesenjan, a really sour sauce made with pomegranate and walnuts, served with ground meat and walnut mini-meatballs. With saffron rice, this dish was extremely enjoyable and is really unique. The barberry and pistachio rice we got with the lamb kabob was even better than the saffron rice, again with the sourness of the barberries and a nice crunchy earthiness from the pistachio and the same crunchy socarrat you’d find in a good paella.

Dessert was an excellent not-overly-sweet baklava and pistachio ice cream, though we were tempted by the menu’s self-proclaimed “best Napoleon cake in NY.”

Beer and wine only-- the slightly sour Belgian Leffe went well with the flavors of this meal.

We’d definitely go back though I’d avoid the lamb dishes in favor of other meat.

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I love fesanjan. I reckon the sourness of the pomegranate molasses goes really well with the chicken that usually forms the protein in the dish. Most places I know crush the walnuts really fine but I prefer it when there’s some texture to them.

With regard to the kebabs, you usually find chunks of lamb (like a Turkish shish kebab) or minced lamb formed into long koftas (I think these are “kobideh” kebabs). But you also get a long fillet of lamb, beaten quite thin, which sounds like it’s maybe what you had. It’s called “barg” and is a favourite of mine. As anywhere, the age of the lamb is crucial - too young and it will have no flavour, too old and it will struggle to cook in time on the grill.

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Re the kabob, yes it was a long strip. I love lamb but this was so funky and barnyardy i just couldn’t handle it. My husband thought it was fine. I’ve made fesenjan before and this was very similar. I believe the version I had was with chicken but at this restaurant they made tiny meatballs-- they were really good. Does fesenjan just refer to the sauce?

Oddly enough, my husband and I happened also to eat at Shiraz last evening for the first time in some years! We must have overlapped. We ate there several times when they were new but encountered one or two rude welcomes at some point, so I swore off them. Last night my husband just had an urge for their food. So we went back. The current staff were much more pleasant – yes, I agree it seems to be family-run, but they seem much more professional at this point. (We, also, were trying to remember what the differences in decor were.). We started off with a very nice arugula salad to share, then had the minced beef and chicken kebabs, which were well cooked and we liked a lot. We had the same dessert as you. I assume we will be going back again, since last evening went so well.

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I’ve only ever seen it done with chicken, so have just assumed it’s the complete dish, rather than just a sauce. Were your meatballs lamb? Sounds a nice change if so.

I am always happy with the apps there and find them more interesting than the mains.
I remember them serving more of a lavash type of pita pictured directly below when
they first opened … much better than what they serve now. The additional pics are from my last meal there, which was lunch. There was a younger gentleman who said he was the owner, he was very accommodating and excited about the food, offering myself and my friend a couple of items to try. This was a change from my previous visits, I remembered an older more reserved gentleman running the show.

It refers to the stew/sauce (walnuts and pomegranate syrup - there are veg versions and others with different meats but poultry is most common); My Persian Kitchen has a recipe for it with duck:

@westjanie, that’s funny! What time were you there? We got there around 8:30.

The mini meatballs were made of ground beef and ground walnuts I believe. The recipe I made from the NYtimes was chicken so this was a nice change. I’m definitely going to make this at home again soon.

I’ve eaten in a couple of Middle Eastern restaurants in America, where beef has been substituted for the lamb/goat that would be traditional. Presumably catering to local tastes and/or easier supply - I know lamb is not as commonplace as it is in Europe and further east, nor does it seem to be enjoyed as much (based on old Chowhound threads I recall).

We cannot remember the exact timing of our visit. I have the feeling it was relatively early for us, but since a lot of people who were there when we arrived had left before we did, I assume we were there past 8. Whether we lasted til 8:30, tho…?? I DO think it’s bizarre, tho, that the two of us connected on this site chose to revisit after significant time the same restaurant on the same night. Perhaps the Shiraz folks were sending silent messages thru here?!?

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I haven’t eaten there in years, when they were BYOB. Looks like I need to go back again for some fesanjan!

Yes, I am still thinking about that fesenjan! I have a feeling I’ll be doing a repeat visit soon.

It may be a good place for a casual HOdown.

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You’re right. If anyone else is interested in that, please chime in! And happy HO anniversary! :slight_smile:

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Thank you! I am definitely interested.

I am also interested.

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I’d love to try Shiraz too!

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