Shandiz Mediterean Grill (Persian) Plano
We just came back from having the lunch buffet at Shandiz $12.38 with Tea or Soda. They are located on the NW corner of Parker & Coit in Plano. I would highly recommend it to anybody who like middle eastern food. There food is heavy on Lamb as you would suspect with the typical persian spread of Kabab's, fish and chicken.
The also had a version of Naan bread which is thinner than pita, yogurt dip and hummus.
Their food definitely has a different spice signature than Fadis or other middle eastern restaurants in town, their food is a slight bit spicer than other middle eastern places around the metroplex.
Overall I would say the food is quite good, definitetly tilted slightly to the American taste leaving out some of the vegetable dishes I have seen at other Persian restaurants that are not to the American taste.
Had lunch there today. Rice & grilled meats: chicken & ground beef kabobs were good. Stewed dishes were quite bland. Hummus & Pita were terrible. Hummus tasted like canned chick peas that were put through a food processor, no seasoning what so ever. Pita was stale, dry, falling apart. Asked if they had any fresh pita, waiter brought more, said it was fresh, just off the grill. It was just off the grill, but still stale. If you warm stale pita on a grill the pita remains stale, it just gets warm. Food is clearly Persian vs. Lebanese as one would find at Fadi's or Ali Baba. Service was scattered. Hope these are things that will work out, it's still new. Hope they improve.
Hummus and pita aren't really Persian, but Arabic, so I never had good hummus at a Persian restaurant. (Based on my experience, a real authentic Persian restaurant doesn't serve hummus.) Also, in an area in SoCal where there's a large Iranian population and a number of great Persian restaurants, no Persian restaurant serves pita. Most of them serve only Sangak. One of the restaurants served great homemade Barbari, which is probably available at Middle Eastern grocery stores here. The Middle Eastern restaurants in Dallas are dominantly Arabic.
About Persian bread:
We finally made it to Shandiz today (David wouldn't want to try any more Persian restaurant in Dallas so it took a while to convince him).
We ordered from the menu because the buffet didn't look very appealing. (another $40 lunch!)
Their Koobideh Kabob (ground beef) was SUPER good.
It is among the best koobideh kabob we've ever had, if not the best.
Their chicken kabob wasn't bad, either, though a little oversalted.
The lamb wrapped with chicken kabob isn't worth the money.
They brought fresh sangak, not pita, which was pretty good.
(I wasn't sure what kind of bread was being served at the buffet, but I saw a couple of people grab some bread by hand and put it back in!!!)
The eggplant dip is better at King Kabob. (Shadiz serves Kashke-badenjan, but I think King Kabob's is Borani Esfenaaj, my favorite.) Shandiz has Salad Oliveh (my most favorite) on the menu, but doesn't serve it every day. I was told to call beforehand and make sure they have it.
In conclusion, for appetizers/side dishes--King Kabob (their kabobs are almost inedible) ; for kabobs, Shandiz. For backlava, go to Afrah--Shandiz' is homemade, but not that good.
Shandiz will make it into our rotation :-) We had tried Sahara, Giovanni's and Kasra and almost gave up on Persian in Dallas. (Shandiz' waitress said the owner of Sahara changed--her friend used to own it. That explains the deterioration in food quality there. We didn't like Giovanni's food at all. They don't even make their own backlava!)
Still, none of Persian restaurants here serve a variety of Persian rice dishes (polo).
We still have Caspian (Plano) to try.
I haven't tried Shandiz, might try them this week and see how their food is.
As far as Sahara goes, I don't really see the deterioration in food quality. Seems to be the same as it was before the ownership change......It was never a great Persian restaurant. But, I'd prefer going to Sahara over most of the other Persian places I've tried in Dallas.
King Kabob is below average, Kasra had nice decor but probably the worst kabobs of them all......Giovanni's I haven't tried.
I've been in Dallas for years, and I remember the old Persian restaurants which were originally around back in the 80's. The first one was "The Rose", then a few years later there was "Le Casbah" (Both were in the seedy NW Hwy area, directly across from Caligula XXI).......Neither were able to stay open for more than a few years, if that long.
The best Persian restaurant in Dallas I remember was Sinbad's Palace. It was originally an Arabic restaurant, but changed ownership and an Iranian guy decided to make it into Persian cuisine. It was around 635/Skillman......That was by far the best Persian food in Dallas, it's a shame they closed down when they did, which I think was about 6 or 7 years ago.
Toronto and Los Angeles have much better quality Persian restaurants than Dallas, but that's a given, as those two cities have huge Iranian communities.
What I don't understand is why none of the Dallas area Persian restaurants have put the "special kabob" on the menu, which is barq wrapped with ground beef (koobideh). It's the best kabob you can possibly try, brings the best aspects of koobideh & barq into one.
Giovannis i heard they had great food, the meal might cost $15 or dollars a plate but heard its worth it. As far as Sahara goes, it is by far my favorite Persian restaurant because of the way the buffet is set up, i like it that the fact Sahara tells you what day they are having what and not, unlike Shandiz the chicken is horrible compared to Sahara, dont get me wrong i will try different foods and different restaurents for better quality until i have met my match. And has anyone heard of Afghan Grill? i heard it was good, but i tried calling the place they wouldnt pick up, i think that might have moved to a different location.