Molana (Persian) in Watertown Review.
So I went to Molana (http://www.molanarestaurant.com/ ) in Watertown today for lunch I stopped in at 11:30 even though they don’t open for lunch till noon. The waitress there was so welcoming she let me sit down and brought me some bread and tea while I waited for them to get ready. The atmosphere here is a bit strange you can definitely tell that its got a lot of Persian decorating but with the wooden pizza parlor style tables and chairs its very difficult to let you mind slip away to another time and place. The restaurants layout also leaves you with the impression that it was a neighborhood pizza place in a previous life with the long raised counter looking in to the kitchen in the back. But the welcoming restaurant and friendly fellow diners make you feel right away as if you’ve been coming here for years.
I had the Persian tea which was a very nice change for me as I drink a lot of tea but had not had this particular kind before. The bread was basic pita style bread served with those little plastic squares of whipped butter. I ordered off the lunch menu and got the Beef Soltani with grilled tomato and rice. This gave me the opportunity to sample two different beef offerings at once which is something I always like. The rice was delicate and well prepared with dusting of yellow rice on top. The Soltani offers both the Kubideh: a length of ground beef cooked over an open fire and the Barg: marinated and pounded tenderloin. The Kubideh was well done and had a nice earthy flamed finish to it but was a bit bland for my tastes. The Barg was my clear favorite as the flavors of the marinade came out beautifully on this nicely cooked beef. It was tender and juicy and flavor left me wanting more but the portions made me ask for a doggie bag. I wisely saved room for the Persian ice cream at the end as this was a delicacy I have read about but not been able to try. This was made with saffron, rose water and Persian cream and this alone was worth the trip. I can see why other hounders have posted requests searching this delicacy out if you have the opportunity I would recommend saving room for desert.
Overall this was a good Persian restaurant I’ve only had Persian food a few times so I’m not an expert but as Persian restaurants are so scarce it’s always good to know where one is.
Molana is located at 5 spring street in Watertown, MA with a metered parking lot across the street.
Any lamb on the menu?
How was the rice? That is the key to fine Persian cooking. Crispy rice, that is rice from the bottom of the pot, is often offered to a guest as a delicacy. In some Persian restaurants I see it offered to regular customers, but not to those who have walked in for the first time.
There's definitely lamb on the menu. One of the lamb dishes I love there is a lamb shank that falls off the bone. And if you think the lamb is good, the rice is even better. The lamb is accompanied by this dill, fava bean rice. Unfortunately, the rice you describe is not served at Molana's. Or maybe I haven't been going there long enough. =) However, I have to say that the different ingredients they use with their rice (like sour currents, for example) and the quality of rice (single grain, but fluffy) make their rice very good. Better than other Persian places that I've been to.
I have a menu here the only lamb dish I see is Gaghali Polo with Lamb Shank. "Boiled Lamb shank in special herbs and spices with Baghali Polo(rice, lima beans, and dill weed)"
As for the rice it was light a delicate but not crispy like that from the botom of a Dolsot bowl. ( I am also a fan of this style of crispy rice)