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Dec 6, 2001 12:13 PM

Best Persian Food

  • h

Anyone been to Shamshiry(sp?) in Tyson's Corner? Delicious food and very authentic, but the service could be a little bit better. Since moving into the district, I have not been out to Tyson's in a while. So, does anyone know of any other reputable Persian joints? Thanks!

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  1. Mrs W.'s Iranian (Irani?) friend likes Moby Dick House of Kabob quite a bit.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bob W.

      There's a nice place called the Orchard Market Cafe here in Baltimore, but it's way up north so kind of long ways for you to travel. But if you're ever up in the Towson area it's worth stoppping by. It's really hard to find the first time though so you want to call ahead for directions. And its byob.

      1. re: Bob W.
        Susan Dundon

        I second the Moby Dick recommendation. It's a really unassuming place, with several locations. One in DC (on Conn. and N) opened just a few months ago.

        The food is really quite good and inexpensive. I probably eat there once a week!

        1. re: Bob W.

          Moby Dick is good, though I've found their grilled meats too dry on most of my visits. I love to watch the guy making those big beautiful rounds of bread in that tandoori-like oven - the bread is great.

          Another place I enjoy is the Golden Grill, which is in Gaithersburg on N. Frederick Ave. (Rt. 355) (maybe about 2 miles north of Montgomery Village Ave. in a small strip near the old Hechinger's mall). Also a bare bones sort of place, and their bread isn't freshly baked like Moby's, but the souvlaki is so moist and very flavorful. They have a nice little buffet for lunch that is terrific and I love the satellite tv in the corner playing a middle eastern/mediterranean version of MTV. The owner is THE nicest man. Oh, and the french fries are darn good (go figure).

        2. Shamsiry has superb rice, perhaps the best of all the Persian restaurants in northern Virginia. Their kabobs are not as good as Moby Dick or the Sorrento Grill in McNair Farms in Herndon. Moby's kabobs are succulent and flavorful along with good charcoal onions and tomatoes. I personally believe there is a difference in the Moby restaurants having eaten in McLean (the best), Georgetown, Bethesda and Fairfax Towne Center. I believe the best vegetable kabob is the Simply Grill in Reston whose jalapeno yogurt is also outstanding as well as their cranberry rice. Pars on Lee Highway in Fairfax is also good. If I had to pick one, overall, to have down the street from me it would be the Sorrento Grill.

          1. We are very fond of the Moby Dick in Bethesda...the food is consistently delicious (I have never found the kabobs to be dry), the bread is terrific, as is the rice. I go in spite of the plastic cutlery, styrofoam plates, and spotty table cleaning.

            It is our best cheap dining out experience....

            Jim Zurer
            Washington DC

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jim Zurer

              I do have to qualify my post, I think - all of my experiences at Moby Dick have been at the one in Kentlands, in Gaithersburg. And, always at lunchtime. I need to try their other locations, I think....

            2. I was in Bethesda a lot in Sept. & Oct., performing in a play at The Writer's Center, so I was near both Villa and Moby Dick on Wisconsin Ave. And I would take the former over the latter! Villa (which is also a market for Middle Eastern foods, but closed Sundays) offers a lot of non-kebab items, homemade soups, and several desserts - which is not the case at Moby Dick's. Also, I've found the basmati rice sometimes dry & too chewy at Moby Dick's.

              But if you find yourself in N Gaithersburg/Germantown, you have the M-F lunch buffet at Golden Grill, altho I find the kebabs & rice at nearby Caspian Cafe even better. Both places are on Rte 355 - Caspian Cafe near Middlebrook Rd, Golden Grill a little farther south.

              I work in downtown DC near the new convention center, and I like the chicken-with-bone kebab platter at Mayur Kebab House, on K St nr 12th. A good sign - the area's Middle-Eastern cab drivers constantly patronize the place. For $7 you get a kebab, rice, servings of 2 veggie curries & a freshly-baked naan (which is excellent). Filling & yummy! They also have a $5 M-F lunch buffet for the 3-4 curries (1 is meat) they have, plus rice & a naan.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Lori S

                Interesting...before there was Moby Dick, there was Villa Deli, located in a funky old house off of Leland, on the west side of Wisconsin. The kebabs were terrific, although the bread was not freshly made. When the house was torn down, they moved to their present location and we found the food suffered in the transition. In addition, the new quarters felt somewhat hostile and sterile.

                Since Moby Dick opened,we have only returned to Villa Deli once and were not impressed....but perhaps we will try it again on your recommendation.

                Jim Zurer
                Washington DC

                1. re: Jim Zurer

                  It's just that all 3 times I went to Moby Dick in Bethesda, I had to deal with overcooked, very chewy rice. In 1 case, they included the hard clumps of rice they scrape from the bottom of the pan (tho I understand some people really like that) The naan/pita was just OK. Yeah, Villa Deli is white & bright inside, but they had a lot more non-kebab & dessert choices than Moby Dick. And I could tell they appreciated my post-Sept. 11 business (when I'm sure a lot of Middle-Eastern cafes lost business). But I would take Caspian Cafe in Germantown over Villa Deli...

                  1. re: Lori

                    I will check out the Caspian Cafe when I next get to Gaithersburg. Thanks for the tip.

                    Jim Zurer
                    Washington DC

                    1. re: Jim Zurer

                      For those of you in Maryland Shamsiry in Tysons Corner (Route 7 take a left by Moore Cadillac, back about three blocks to where Ringling Bros. has their office, just behind it) really is heads and shoulders above most, if not all others Persian restaurants in the D. C. area for their many variations of rice. They're worth the trip across the Cabin John bridge, only twenty minutes from 270 & Montrose with no traffic. I still believe, however, that Moby in McLean (NOT Bethesda nor Georgetown nor Fairfax Towne Center) and Sorrento in McNair Village Center have the most succulent, juicy, flavorful kabobs anywhere. The nan is best wherever it has just come off of the fire.

                      1. re: Jim Zurer

                        I'm apparently in the minority, and have only been to Caspian Cafe once, but I found it underwhelming. I thought the kebabs were similar quality and price to Moby Dick in Kentlands (which I like BTW). The bread at Moby Dick is better (they were serving grocery store-quality pita at Caspian Cafe the day I was there). What I didn't like was that the restaurant itself was dirty (the ladies restroom was especially gross). I was there on a Saturday a few months ago at lunch time and the place was devoid of customers. The people working there were not even remotely middle eastern (black and Korean stand out in my memory). I don't plan to return. However, I hear from others that they really enjoy it. Good luck!

                      2. re: Lori

                        I have driven past the Caspian many many times and never stopped (it isn't an "inviting" place from the outside!), but can't wait to stop there the next time I'm up that way! Thanks for the tip!

                  2. The best Afghan I have had so far was at Kebab Palace in Crystal City. It is on Eads and (I believe) 22nd.
                    It is heavily patronized by a Middle-Eastern clientele. FAR better than Moby Dick

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: John

                      In his Guide,, Tyler Cowan lists numerous kabob places that sound yummy. Check under the Afghan, Pakistani and Persian headings. I've also noticed that everywhere I turn in the D.C. area lately, there appears to be a new kabob place opening. Perhaps we should do some sort of collective Chowhound tasting of the various local kabobs over the next few weeks, and report back on our findings.