Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Taste test: Shamshiri on a summer evening

crusty Persian rice, left
Sometimes the best reason to try a new restaurant is when the location fits elegantly into your plans for the evening. In our case, the route last Saturday involved delivering a teenager to deepest west Glendale. I remembered from my regrettably brief tenure in Weight Watchers that Shamshiri in the same complex looked like a promising choice in that neighborhood, and Matt had never had Persian food, so voila, a plan was hatched.
Shamshiri has various locations around town -- the Glendale location has plenty of parking and a patio that's pleasant on warm nights. We started with a refreshing tomato and cucumber salad with a bracingly sour dressing -- it would have been a great foil to something oily like hummus but we didn't want to fill up too fast. I insisted Matt try fesenjan, the chicken stew made with pomegranates and crushed walnuts. Fesenjan, being a murky stew with a burnished burgundy color, doesn't photograph well, but it was delicious -- fruity without being cloying and not as oily as some versions. The fesenjan was served with a large plate of rice with the crunchy, buttery crust included, a delicacy for Persian diners. I had a chicken dish in a very mild saffron gravy (adas polo, above) served with an enormous plate of rice studded with barberries, dates, lentils and raisins. I liked the combo of tasty items in the rice, but the overall effect was a bit bland. It does end up being a lot of rice, so if you're carb-phobic, you might want to find some substitutions among the appetizer salads.
Most of the dishes are available in vegetarian versions, the prices are reasonable, portions are huge and the service was efficient -- so we'll definitely add Shamshiri to our list of reliable places in Glendale. It's more casual than some Persian restaurants, so it's a good stop on the way to a movie, shopping trip ...or Weight Watchers meeting!
122 W Stocker St
(818) 246-9541

1 comment:

tannaz said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Shamshiri, and it's always great to read about Persian restaurants! A tiny nitpick: adas polo is not the chicken, but rather the rice! 'Polo' is the word for any of a bunch of dishes of rice mixed with various yummy stuff -- vegetables, fruit, fresh herbs, legumes, etc. It's a word related to 'pilaf' and 'pilau', and has nothing to to with 'pollo'. 'Adas' just means lentils, so 'adas polo' is just lentil polo. At its most basic, adas polo is just rice with lentils and maybe fried onions; in our house, if you add raisins and dates, you turn it into polo keshmesh -- raisin polo.