When you drive along Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, you pass a stretch of Middle Eastern grocery stores, gyro joints, restaurants, etc. There is Rumi’s Kitchen, Makara, Fanoos, Shahrzad… then Persepolis. Actually, you may encounter Persepolis first, depending on the direction you come from, of course. Anyway, Persepolis was where Grant and I decided to meet for lunch. Grant and his lovely wife Marie write Marie Let’s Eat, a travel-food-restaurant blog based in and around Atlanta and the greater South. I think ‘Marie Let’s Eat’ has to be cutest name for a site. It conveys love, gusto, enthusiasm and zest… for life, food, each other, what have you. When Grant suggested meeting up, I scouted online for new restaurants and found that Persepolis’s menu had a vegetarian section. I was sold. So off we went.
We walked into the restaurant just when it had opened its doors for lunch. The decor is simple at Persepolis. Think oil paintings, large vases of flowers, instrumental music with Middle Eastern beats and rhythms, fragrance of grilled vegetables wafting through… Grant surveyed the lunch buffet and found it to his liking, so he went ahead and filled his plate. I ordered the Must-O-Mooseer and the Vegetarian Zereshk Polo. The restaurant was empty when we walked in but within minutes, it filled up. An old couple, then a family with kids and women in headscarves, a group of friends… soon enough, the dining room was bustling with noise and activity, servers rushing with plates of flatbread and glasses of water, etc.
Our server first brought us a plate with a giant flat bread, its surface flecked with little black seeds. Nigella seeds, maybe? A little later, a platter with herbs, cheese, little slabs of butter, soaked almonds and sliced radish was brought to the table. I wish the flatbread and the second platter had arrived together. Then came my order of Must-O-Mooseer. I broke pieces of the flatbread, layered it with sliced radish and almonds, dipped into the Must-O-Mooseer and tucked in. Not bad at all. The cheese was too tart for my taste, so I gave it a pass. Must-O-Mooseer is a bowl of diced sun-dried shallots mixed with yogurt and spices. Our server mentioned that it is generally eaten as a dip with flat bread. But $5.99 for a bowl of shallot-spiced yogurt is too steep, in my opinion.
Next up was my platter of Vegetarian Zereshk Polo. I was intrigued by the menu description that went ‘Basmati rice steam cooked with barberries which are sauteed in a special glazed saffron sauce. A sweet and sour dish with a skewer of two vegetable kabobs.’ For $13.99 this one better be worth it, I thought. I need not have worried. See for yourself.
As I discovered, barberries taste similar to cranberries. Tangy and sweet in equal parts, they made an interesting addition to the Saffron Basmati Pulao (I am guessing that ‘Polo’ is Persian for ‘Pulav?’). The rice was cooked to perfection, the skewer of grilled kabobs providing the crunch and quintessential burn marks to make the dish attractive and eye-catching. This is a huge platter, half of which came home with me. Looking forward to leftovers tonight!
Will I visit Persepolis again? I don’t know. There is another vegetarian dish on the menu that includes basmati rice, cooked lentils, sauced raisins, onions and vegetable kabobs… Mmm, tempting! Then there is dessert that we skipped this time. How do you like the sound of traditional Persian sweet fritters and ladyfingers made of honey, yogurt, saffron and rosewater? Maybe another visit will happen, Inshallah!
Persepolis Persian Cuisine
6435 Roswell Rd NE
Atlanta GA 30328