Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Asian Persuasion: Darvish Restaurant

One of the ladies I live with, Miss Julie, is sick. It's nothing serious, just that time of year. But her throat hurts and nothing looks especially appetizing. So I suggested we three go out for dinner and Sunday night and find some nice, homemade soup for our patient. I also casually mentioned that it would be great if we could go somewhere Asian since Sarah's theme this month for Dine & Dish is Asian Persuasian.

After searching online and taking into account our various restrictions (nothing too expensive, nothing carb heavy for Miss Julie or fish-heavy for Miss Jess), we opted for Persian food, which none of us had ever had.

If, for some reason, you are lacking in geographical education, Iran (formerly Persia) is in fact in Asia, although I admit Persian food was not what I first thought of when I saw Sarah's Dine & Dish theme.

No matter. Darvish Restaurant, in Claremont, CA fit all our requirements and was where we went.

Because Miss Julie had dragged herself out of bed to come to dinner, we didn't want to order appetizers and make her stay longer than necessary. While looking over the menu we all stuck with ice water, since the beer selection comprised Bud and Heineken and the ones were all normal, unexciting California ones. After we had ordered, though, Miss Julie and I each got a glass of tea which was quite nice.

The menu consists of several pages and has long explanations and pictures of each dish. Many are variations on a theme (all different kinds of kebabs), but the menu is nicely laid out and accessible, especially if you have never had Persian food before.

Miss Julie finally decided not to order soup and instead chose the Kabob Barg, Filet Mignon skewered and charbroiled, served on a bed of fluffy Basmati Rice with Saffron and grilled Tomatoes. The meat was well-cooked and tender. It had been marinated in a delicious, slightly musky, slightly spicy dry rub which really separated it from any other Filet Mignon.

Miss Jess was most intrigued by a stew, Fesenjoon. This was by far the most exotic dish we'd ordered, a "delicious cooked mixture of Walnuts in Pomegranate Sauce and Chicken breast served with Basmati Rice," according to the menu. It was a lot of very strong flavors and could not be really enjoyed without the rice. The Walnuts proved the most prominent flavor, which was unexpected but rather a nice change.

Finally, I opted for the Adas Polo with Koobideh, Rice made with Raisins, Lentils and Dates and seasoned with Saffron, served with one skewer of Koobideh, either Chicken or Beef. Being such a meat-eater, I went for the beef Koobideh. The meat was treated with a similar dry rub to Miss Julie's filet mignon and was tender and equally tasty. The rice, too, was delicious. The Basmati rice was quite fluffy and the addition of Lentils and Raisins made it much more flavorful, especially since I'm not the biggest fan of rice. The dates were a little too sweet in general, since they were cut in such big chunks. Nevertheless, it really was a good dish.

All in all, this was a very good meal. The dishes were huge, so none of us finished our food (of course, Miss Julie also didn't touch her rice), though that was no reflection on its preparation. Will we go back? Very possibly, at least next time we want something a little "different."

Darvish Restaurant
946 W. Foothill Blvd.
Claremont, CA

Update: Sarah's given us a beautiful write-up of all our Asian meals! Go check it out.


Rorie said...

I'm intrigued by the Fesenjoon, too! Sounds delicious!

Lady Amalthea said...

The Fesenjoon was really very good, although the walnutty taste was a little too strong for me. I would love to re-create it at home, perhaps with a milder nut.