Shiraz’s decor is simple, with a few Persian flourishes
Among the choices to dip warm naan into: a chopped parsley-and-diced-tomato salad (in cup), and, clockwise from top left, hummus, mashed smoked eggplant, mashed eggplant garnished with dried yogurt; and steamed spinach topped with yogurt.
The herb salad, like the falafel salad, is served undressed; oil and vinegar are brought to the table. We found the sprigs of mint with woody stems unappealing—and the sprinkling of scallions, walnuts, feta, and sliced radish, cucumber, and tomato too meager to stand up to the powerful mint. The Shirazi salad, a classic shepherd’s salad of lettuce, parsley, tomato, onion, and cucumber seasoned with sumac, is a better choice.
At the heart of the menu are, of course, the kebabs. None disappointed. Chunks of Cornish hen on the bone were flavorful and moist. We were equally impressed with the flavor-rich filet mignon kebab. One long strip of the marinated filet was skewered and grilled to tender perfection. Moist chicken-breast kebabs were also savory, thanks to saffron and other spices. The koobideh, or ground-meat kebab, is indeed mouthwatering as the menu described.
There are entrées other than kebabs. Slow-cooked lamb shanks were falling-off-the-bone tender but rather bland. Fesenjan, meatballs simmered in a thick ground-walnut-and-pomegranate sauce, had an almost gritty texture and was overtly sweet. The meatballs that were served warm were dry, and several meatballs had ice crystals(!) in the center.
Fortunately, we fared better with dessert. The baklava had wonderful pistachio flavor. We didn’t immediately fall in love with the saffron ice cream: the intense flavor required acclimation. Our first bite was almost shocking…our second somewhat appealing…and by the time we had that third taste, we realized it had an almost mysterious allure that kept us going back for more.
Would we go back to Shiraz again? That eggplant dip has crossed our minds at unexpected times, and the kebabs were universally good. Shiraz scored well in a third (and yes, increasingly important) category: a meal there is quite reasonable. Appetizers and salads ranged from $5 to $10, and generously portioned kebabs (enough that there were some left for lunch the next day) averaged around $16. While the ambience may not be much, it is a pleasure to eat well without breaking the bank.
Shiraz Persian Restaurant â˜…â˜…â˜…
81 E Main St, Elmsford
Hours: Tues to Sun 11 am–10 pm. Appetizers: $5–$10; entrées: $13–$18; desserts: $3.50–$5.
Bring your own alcohol.
â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…—Outstanding â˜…â˜…â˜…—Very Good