Ceazars (formerly Sizar's) in Elkridge
- little audrey May 3, 2009 02:39 PM
This used to be a market in Columbia, is now a restaurant in Elkridge - is it any good? Do they have good kabobs? How do they compare to Maiwand?
There is both a market and a restaurant in the new Elkridge location, which is very convenient from Rte 100. The market changed names and added a butcher. The restaurant is new. It's a casual place that sells a nice menu of kabobs and other items.
I haven't been commenting much because Chowhound has been erasing my posts. But I wrote at length about both the market and the restaurant on HowChow. The restaurant menu actually offers some unique variations, which I understood were the Iranian takes on food that I learned in Turkish and Lebanese restaurants. So the wraps come on a thin, lavash bread instead of pita, and the choices include items new to me like a yogurt and cucumber appetizer "mast-o khiyer," a sliced beef sandwich called "motadella," and a Persian noodle soup "ashe reshteh."
The meal was delicious. Our wraps came with a small starter plate of salad and bread, which was a really nice bonus. A square of salty cheese, radishes, onion, parsley and that "mast-o khiyer" appetizer. We ate them slowly with pieces of the house bread, which was a flavorful thin bread like pita, and it made the meal -- a late lunch when the restaurant was almost empty -- something more special than just your normal sandwiches. And the sandwiches were special themselves. Grilled meat (chicken or tenderloin) rolled inside that multi-layered lavash bread and accompanied with tomato, lettuce, herbs and pickle.
Again, the herbs and pickle were different. Caezar has a casual feel, but they want to be something more special than just a kabob joint. The modern plates and the tablecloths at dinnertime show you that they're offering something special. The waiter also taught us about a preserved garlic called seer torshi. For that kind of attention to detail, the meal was a bargain. For $20, we each had drinks and sandwiches so large that we brought halves home as leftovers, plus we enjoyed the little salads and an appetizer of samose. That was six fried pastries filled with potatoes and peas. The menu calls them "spicy," but they're actually mild -- especially compared to the samosas and sauces that you would get at House of India or Mango Grove.
Ceazars is very convenient from Rte 100. It is just east of U.S. 1 a few minutes from the intersection of Rte 100 and I-95.
I tried their kofta kabob ( I can't remember what it was called here). As described elsewhere, the bread was very different since it was the thin Lavash, but it was good, much better than the dry lavash I've tried elsewhere. However, I personally prefer the bread at Maiwand, and I definately preferred the meat at Maiwand, which I found to be better spiced and to have better consistancy.
re: little audrey
This place has improved since the summer. We visited there right after the good review in the Baltimore Sun, and they were just overwhelmed with the combination of Ramadan business and new people. But more recently we have been there and really enjoyed the pomegranate-walnut sauce of the fesanjan and also the Tabrizi kofte. The restaurant offers more options than the usual kabob places. It's Persian, not Afghan, so you don't get some of the dumpling and pumpkin dishes we enjoy at Maiwand. But I like having some of the Persian offerings, like the soups and the different types of baklava. The saffron and rosewater (I think?) ice cream is a treat.
We just visited this place Saturday and I'm afraid to say their service seems to have gone back toward the "overwhelmed" side of things. We arrived right before the dinner rush. There was only one other table there. Our eggplant appetizer (first item on the menu) was excellent. There wasn't any bitter eggplant flavor at all and it came out steaming hot with a cold yogurt/cucumber dip on the side. Unfortunately, one of our flatbreads that came with it was burnt. The grape leaves appetizer was prepared well. It wasn't to my taste but my SO loved it. I couldn't taste the grape leaves and the yellow lentils were too al dente for me. Unfortunately, as soon as our apps came out, other tables started filling up and the positives stop there. Our main courses (koobideh and fesanjan) came out lukewarm. It was a shame because the koobideh was cooked absolutely perfectly, so rather than send it back and have it be overcooked while reheating, we chose to just eat it as is. I must agree it was lacking a little flavor. Maybe if it was cooked over charcoal. Even a spicy green sauce on the side would have really helped. The pomegranate-walnut sauce was excellent, but the serving size of the fesanjan was, in my opinion, ill-proportioned. Far too little protein and far too much sauce. Still, we would've been satisfied by the experience had the food at least come out hot. Even the rice, although cooked perfectly, was lukewarm when it arrived at our table.
The rest of service was no better. Our water glasses were not refilled once the whole time we were there. Also, after we were done eating, it took literally half an hour to get the waitress' attention. We had wanted to visit the persian grocery store next door but it was already closed by the time we were done. To be fair, the waitress was very nice, but she was running around like mad and clearly overwhelmed. Sometimes a gentleman would come out from the kitchen to help her, but it just wasn't enough.
If anyone has been recently on a Friday or Saturday night, did we just catch them on an off day?