Ask a Comida Critic: Persian Food in OC?
From Twitter follower @CRACK_BERRY:
Looking for the hands down #PersianFood in #OC - Anyone have suggestios? - Recommendations @OCWeeklyFood
Damn straight we do!
It's little secret now that Orange County is a hotbed of Persian activity almost rivaling Beverly Hills and the Westside of Los Angeles. Irvine is the hub of our community, but definitely not the only place to get great Persian grub. Hatam in Anaheim is still holding down the fort for Persians at the northernmost end of Little Arabia (and right next to a Persian food market) with their powerful pickles and lamb as silky as Jell-O, while Naan and Kabob in Tustin remains a great introduction to the cuisine for novices, with its plentiful rice pilafs and charred-just-right kabobs. Irvine's Caspian Restaurant is now for Persians what Versailles in Little Havana is for Cuban expats: a place to hold fundraisers and conduct business, but I find the prices too high for so-so food (and their tanori is usually lukewarm). I can name others, but why bother with them?
Save for the best one, of course.
isn't a full restaurant, of course--just a collection of buffet lines, most forgettable. But not the Persian part. Their fessenjoon, the walnut-pomegranate stew, is the culture at its finest: tart, sweet, earthy, comforting, but more than anything, electrifying. They mix the polos (rice pilafs) throughout the week, but always stock fat, fragrant meatballs containing a date inside. Cornish game hens sit in their own juices; kabobs get fired up upon order. And though each order comes with a side of lavash, onions, butter, and lemon, do what everyone else does: stand in line near the entrance for some sangak, the finest bread since the Nazarene multiplied loaves for the multitudes.
Got a spicy question for the Comida Critic? Ask him in the comments below!
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.