Hole In the Wall: Noon Kabob Wants You to Tahdig This

The tahdig served at Noon Kabob is so big it resembles sheets of dry ice: big, bulky, hard things that shatter into shards every time you put your fork through it. Sure, the stew on top softens the meal a bit, but this is a dish proud of its reject status (tahdig is made from the burned rice found at the bottom of pots after a rice-cooking session). It's not photogenic, not buzzworthy—and it's absolutely brilliant at this San Juan Capistrano charmer.

For about 4 bucks, the tahdig will gift you with rice for days. The stew is earthy, thick; as leftovers, the tahdig tastes even better, softening with time. And while the tahdig works out your molars like nothing since toffee, the end result is as satisfying as spooning a body-sized pillow—comfort food at its finest. Most of the families that visit Noon Kabob get it as an appetizer, a shared plate that whets appetites for all the kebabs and soups to come. The place does all the standards, from koobideh to kebabs, intricate polos (rice pilafs) to soups and stews that rotate on a daily basis. A long, huge grill in the open kitchen finds the cook doing the culinary version of a spinning-plates performance, turning over meat swords down the line until they reach that beautiful medium between charred and juicy. There's even a Persian burrito: a tortilla with kebab and rice inside to appeal to non-Persians, but no less delicious than the regular offerings.

About the only complaint I can offer is that it only offers pita (baked fresh, though) instead of Persian breads such as lavash or sangak—given South County has a surprising amount of Persian markets, Noon Kabob can easily offer these superior flatbreads. But all with due time—Noon Kabob is proudly Persian, from the Farsi-language videos looped on a flat-screen TV to beautiful photos of the homeland on the walls. It even sells must-o-musir, the yogurt-and-shallot dip so tart and perfect it could fancy up Styrofoam. Buy a container to take home, and don't be shy about slapping a dollop of the stuff on whatever you order—just as everyone else does.

One Reply to “Hole In the Wall: Noon Kabob Wants You to Tahdig This”

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