So I figure we’ll start out simple. One of my Yoga students knows I’m half-Persian, so he asked me recently which are the best Persian restaurants in New York City. Apparently he’d gotten a taste of the Persian flavors years back when his cousin was married to a Persian guy. (Funny, almost everyone I know seems to know someone who is or was married to a Persian man. My mom included. Ha!)
At any rate, there are a few Persian spots in New York City, though not nearly as many as you’d expect in a city the size and scope. This is actually one of the reasons I got more into Persian cooking after moving to NYC from Texas. In Texas, not only was I spoiled by the culinary prowess and proximity of my family, but there were quite a few formidably good, affordable Persian restaurants in Houston. Yes, in Houston. Quite the diverse city, that one. Not the cow town that many seem to believe.
So once I’d flown the proverbial coop, was on a serious budget, and pressed for time, it was time to learn. I dragged out my treasured cookbook, “Persian Cooking for a Healthy Kitchen” by Najmieh Batmanglij and got to work. I dug around on the internet, and of course, improvised. Of course, every cook needs a night off, so here are some options on the restaurant scene:
Ravagh at 11 East 30th between Fifth and Madison Avenues. I’ve gone here for a couple of birthdays and it’s kinda hit or miss. When it’s busy, it’s fun. The kebabs are on point and the portions generous. When they run out of certain entrees, it’s quite the bummer.
Persepolis on the Upper East Side (1407 Second Avenue at 73rd Street) is the most traditionally Persian in decor. I’d say this is probably my current favorite, because the stews and kebabs are equally good. Such parity isn’t always the case at Persian restaurants.
Pars in Chelsea (249 West 26th between Seventh and Eighth Avenues) gets great reviews, but I’ve yet to visit. If anyone has been there, please report back. Having a meal there is on my to-do list, and I’ll post my review of it here when that does happen.