A craving for Middle Eastern cuisine led us to our next food venue. Unfortunately, the restaurant we were planning to dine at had closed, but the staff at the hotel pointed us to another Persian place: Behrouz. Outside, the establishment looked promising, but the interior looked unexpectedly different. I loved the conical lamps and the mosaic tiles, but the statues and other decor looked out of place. This mishmash of design, along with the bright orange motif, was not the most relaxing ambiance for dining.
Despite the place being relatively full, we were quickly seated and were handed the menu. We asked our server whether the yogurt with cucumber was tzatziki, but she looked baffled and replied it was just yogurt with cucumber. Indeed, when it was brought to our table, it was literally chunks of cucumber submerged in plain yogurt. It was far from what we were expecting and it was definitely not the best thing we ate.
The pita was served soon after, but we asked them to cut it into quarters. It took a while before our server was able to return the bread. By then the pita was cold. It was not puffed and hollow as I hoped it would be. It tasted a bit floury, and I wished it was browned a bit more. The hummus had a strong garbanzos flavor as expected, but no complexity of flavors permeated in this dip. It was not my favorite.
By then we were feeling rather disappointed with our food choices. It wasn’t until the arrival of our yogurt drink that our hopes for a good meal reignited. The yogurt shake was a bit tart, a bit sweet, somewhat creamy and overall refreshing. If I had one thing I would gladly have over and over from this establishment, it would be that yogurt shake. It was truly a win.
Our main courses were served after some time. Mine was a chelo kebab koobideh, with a mix of lamb and beef. Overall, I loved this dish. The meats were perfectly grilled with bits of char on the outside. It was not as full of spices as I expected, but it was truly well-seasoned. Despite not liking basmati personally, I enjoyed the butter atop the humongous serving of rice. The only criticism I had with this was the presentation — the rice covered the meats and it didn’t look too appetizing. Mr. B’s chelo morgh was a lot tougher compared to my koobideh, which was to be expected since the former were chunks of meat instead of the koobideh’s ground meat. It was a bit salty but it was flavorful nonetheless.
Two sauces were available at the table: a yogurt sauce and a spicy sauce. The yogurt sauce was too thin to be enjoyed. By the time you realize that sauce was coming out of the bottle, too much has already been poured on your plate–an experience I definitely disliked. I felt that the flavors of the yogurt sauce were diluted, hence I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have wanted to. The spicy sauce was also watery but it was way too spicy for my liking. I ended up not using any of the sauces, but luckily the roasted tomatoes that came along with the dish were very juicy, rendering something akin to a sauce to my meal.
It was a big meal, and despite our initial fails, I still found our experience good value for money. If there will ever be a next time, I’ll be skipping the dips and pita and dive right into the main course and drink more of that yogurt shake.
The biggest downside to our meal here was the service. We constantly had to follow up our food and even the bill. While the greeters outside were warm, the staff inside were far from welcoming. Any request was carried out with an air of contempt, as if we had nothing better to do but to inconvenience the servers. There was only one server who seemed genuinely interested in customer service and to her I was truly grateful.
More on food next time…happy travels!