I’ve been a serious fan of Persia Grill for nearly three years now: the quality of the food is consistent and the ambiance is truly reminiscent of a Middle Eastern souk – cosy even when crowded, relaxing even at its noisiest.
Normally, my selections off the menu run towards the deliciously smoky baba ganoush with warm flatbread and the chelo kebab combination plate with beef kubideh and lemony chicken morg. Sometimes, I’d grab the salad oliveyeh (think of warm mashed potatoes – with all the flavors of a properly done potato salad) rather than the eggplant dip and follow up my meal with either baklava with mint tea or the sticky date pudding (whenever it’s available) for afters.
Really, though, it does get a bit boring at times – and this is what pretty much got me hankering for something different. Enter a solo portion of Persia Grill’s tabbouli. Tabbouli (sometimes spelled tabbouleh) is one of those classic Middle-Eastern salads that acts as a common culinary denominator in that region. In its purest form, it features bulgur (cracked wheat) dressed with parsley, tomatoes, mint, garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice. In much of the Arab world, Romaine lettuce is added, either shredded and tossed in or as a bed on which the main salad is served.
The version served at Persia Grill is the Lebanese one wherein it’s actually more of a parsley salad, the poached bulgur grains practically snowed under by the finely chopped herb. It is a most refreshing salad and is an appropriate starter on scorching hot days: the chopped parsley and diced tomatoes are fresh, crunchy, and just a touch sweet. The lemon dressing gives it quite a zingy taste and the mint makes it such a cool treat.
I could actually devour a whole plate of this together with some warm flatbread, but as it happened…
…I also ordered the all-beef chelo kebab Makhsos which features classic beef kubideh paired with barg (chunks of grilled beef tenderloin marinated in Perisan spices; I could detect a bit of rosy advieh in it, by the way). Quite beefier than my usual, but very good and hearty, nevertheless.
Incidentally, perhaps I should have ordered the soft, utterly melting sizzling ox-brain with my tabbouli instead: it would have had a Fergus Henderson vibe to it: like roasted bone marrow with a tangy parsley salad. Hmm…