One thing I can tell you up front I know nothing about is cuisine from the Persian Gulf. I recently had the opportunity to dine at a new restaurant that opened up in a nearby town, Delmar, NY, that specializes in this cuisine.
After a quick browse over the (hard to read online) menu from home, I wasn’t sure how to order when I would get there. I knew I wanted to try an appetizer and main course, but I couldn’t decide on anything.
Finding the place is not trivial. It is located at 180 Delaware Ave in Delmar in a plaza right next to a place not ironically named The Hidden Cafe. Once you find the corner of the plaza it is located in, it stands out pretty well.
We arrived around 6pm and were seated by a super nice waitress. She gave us water and a moment to look over the menu. I got distracted by the cool lanterns that were dangling in an oscillating pattern at the table; it reminded me of bifurcations in differential equations class in college and grad school.
I finally figured out what to eat though. As an appetizer, I ordered the hummus ($5.95), which was advertised as freshly prepared with olive oil.
Cassie ordered the ful mudammus ($5.95), advertised as a warm roasted garlic and fave bean dip topped with olive oil.
We shared both. The young lady also brought a large kamachi bread to use to eat both dishes. When we ran out, she brought more bread and said she would as long as we wanted. We stopped at two. This was difficult.
The hummus was delicious. It was texturally homogeneous and well spiced. What I love about ordering hummus while dining out is the addition of ground sumac, a exotic spice, sprinkled over the top. It’s a touch that I just don’t add when I make my own hummus only because I’ve never even thought to buy sumac. The ful mudammus was an interesting counterpoint. While the hummus was served cold and was smooth, the ful mudammus was served warm and was chunky. The one thing that jumped out at me about this dish was that the beans had an indistinguishable freshness. Theywere both fragrant and delicious.
For dinner, I ordered chicken labne ($12.95), boneless chicken marinated in yogurt and herbs. Now you know I went during the week, when I’m on my protein kick.
The dish came out piping hot on an oven skillet. And I’ll direct your attention to the upper left of the image. Yes, that is my kryptonite, the cauliflower. The way this dish was assembled, the chicken was sitting atop a bunch of grilled onions and was nowhere near in contact with the cauliflower, so I didn’t mind pushing everything it was in contact with away and eating the rest.
The chicken was superb. Because it was marinated in yogurt, it was tender. They grilled it to perfection, juicy and delicious. The mixture of spices really helped to elevate what is just chicken breast, one of the most flavorless cuts of meat you can cook. You already know I’m a huge fan of the sumac, and you can see that liberally spread over my chicken and vegetables.
The portion was also more than adequate. That’s probably 12 oz of chicken that I plowed through. There’s also a hefty portion of the vegetables, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and, yes, the dreaded cauliflower medley, which I didn’t try. Everything I did try on the plate was awesome, and they even served this with a plate of exotically spiced rice.
Cassie was also pleased with what she ordered. The service was outstanding, and the young lady was eager to answer all of my many questions. This is one of those times I wished I lived closer to a place, because I would eat here every night, especially when I’m trying to “be good” and follow my high protein plan; most of the dishes are plays off of the lean-meat-and-vegetables-marinated-and-grilled theme.
If this is my introduction to Persian food, I see a vast future ahead of us.