Bha! Bha! A Persian Bistro
Persian? Yes, Persian. Not Peruvian? No, Persian. Ok, I’m down with that, when are we going?
This is pretty much how the conversation went with my mother when we talked about our dinner plans for my trip to visit them over this past Easter weekend. Turns out, Persian food, or Iranian food, is a fantastic mash-up of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisean. Finding familiar things on the menu like kebabs, stews, fresh salads, and lots of feta cheese, which always makes me happy, I was very excited to sit down and contemplate my order.
There were so many intriguing small plate items and entrees, I knew my decision wasn’t going to be easy. So, in order to help the process, I started off with a saffron lemon grass martini. It was so refreshing, light, and not overly sweet. Basically one of those cocktails that goes down way too fast and before you know it, the second round is on its way.
While sipping on our martinis, we enjoyed siting al fresco, and continued to look over the menu until our appetizers arrived. Oh, the appetizers… The hummus is a must. Accompanied by homemade pita bread (which looked amazing), cucumbers and olives, it wasn’t overly garlicly or salted, and the whole plate was gone within a few minutes. Which was perfect timing because the artichoke eggplant gratin arrived at the table, and boy was this the star of the show. A dense, cheesy mixture of eggplants, artichokes, feta mustard and dill, eaten with a knife and fork, it was definitely my favorite part of the meal.
Then it was on to the main course. Deciding to try not to go overboard on my first night of vacation, I went with a salad and another appetizer for dinner. The pomegranate & pistachio salad caught my eye because of the combination of fruit (pomegranate seeds, apples and dried apricots), feta (duh), and spinach. Very refreshing, and a nice segue to my dinner, spicy garlic mussels. And that name isn’t lying. Both very spicy and very garlicly, this small plate packed a big punch. Mussels swimming in a thick tomato sauce, along with huge slices of garlic, the spice was a slow heat that linger just the right amount of time. By the end of my bowl, I was sufficiently full and ready for a glass of wine, or two, for dessert. Yuhhh-ummm.
With so many items on the menu to try, I see there being multiple trips to Bha! Bha! to make sure all my bases are covered!