As our boat skimmed across the Hudson River en route to docking in Edgewater, we were giddy at the prospect of eating some delicious Persian cuisine at Shahrzad, a restaurant with good reviews and a fun "destination" location. Checking Google Maps for its exact location, a bright red "PERMANENTLY CLOSED" appeared with the name of the restaurant, and a quick call was greeted by a message of disconnection. The boat bounced over the waves regardless of this news, taking 20 or so New Jersey residents home from work, and two sad diners. Fortunately it only took a few minutes more of research of the area to find out that the restaurant was now part of the Ravagh chain [This seems to be a trend, as I saw another Persian restaurant open on 1st Avenue in the East Village and almost immediately get swallowed up, and as of August 2015 the Edgewater location is indeed permanently closed], and still serving Persian food. The emotions of a ten-minute boat ride have never run such a gamut, thankfully ending on ebullience.
It takes only six or eight minutes to walk up the hill and come to the restaurant, an understated facade and calm dining room run by a friendly, if overworked staff. The place definitely has its fair share of idiosyncrasies, but taken with a calm manor and patience, its quite pleasant.
Dumplings always pop off a menu for me, and the sambuseh ($6.50, above) were no exception. Filled with a chickpea puree, the crispy triangles were a bit on the dry side, and our table was not given either the tangy chutney that the takeout menu calls for or the sauce described in the table menu. They definitely could have used one or the other, but were tasty in their own way regardless.
A closer look at a sambuseh.
All of the choices in the stews section of the menu looked terrific, but the khoresh fesenjan ($14, below) is an absolute game-changer. This is one of the most unique dishes I have had, and completely made the meal worth it. In a paste of pomegranate and crushed walnuts sit mighty chunks of chicken that seem to have been cooked in the sauce for days. The paste is astounding and good for use with the rice that comes with most dishes, including this one. You are well-advised to go for the specialty rice upgrade of zereshk polo ($3), which adds barberries, currents, and saffron to your basmati.
It was impossible to skip the kebob section, and a final decision was made in favor of the barg kebob ($15, below), which is plated with a mountain of white and yellow rice as well as a grilled tomato and onion. The juicy strips of sirloin are said to be marinated in a "special age old recipe," and we will not question this, as they are very good. The meat is tender and the spices are just right.
Ravagh has three locations in Manhattan and another in Roslyn Heights, NY, making it a family of four. The prices seem to be the same across them all.