3/9/10 Khayyam; Persian In Brookline: Where is the Oomph?
I was all excited about this new place because the menu looked like some of Lala Rokh's food w/ much lower prices. Well, the gist of it is...Not.Not even close.
Good notes: Pureed eggplant app., Kashk Bademjahn, is pretty good- roasted eggplant, onion ,mint. The Shirin rice part of Shirin Polo Murgh is the delicious and famous Persian '7 Jewel Rice'; very distinct and unusual for a rice dish,flavorful and perfectly cooked, highlighted by saffron, barberries, shredded carrots, julienned candied orange peel, pistachios. Lamb chops (Alvand kabob) are perfectly cooked and flavorful of (unadorned)lamb.Good price at $16.Current coupon gets you, for dining-in only, 1/2 off your second entree.Pretty and pleasant waitress.Inoffensive classical music.
Bad notes: The 'yoghurt' topping on said eggplant app. tasted like powdered milk. ugh. Baba ganoosh was very odd and listless; brought it home to add tahini, garlic.Table hoomus had no flavor. Chicken (Polo) on the Shirin Polo Murgh could not have been drier/mealier.A case of over-marinating in an acid- i.e.yoghurt, lemon juice and/or being overcooked.Side of Adas rice(lentils, onions, raisins) was disappointingly low in flavor. Side vegetables on each plate consisted of 2 cubes of green pepper, 2 halves of cardboard tomatoes, 1 small red onion, all broiled. The $2 cardamom tea had NO hint of cardamom in it (if only for their stellar Cardamom Tea, go to Mammoun's in New Haven. Wow do I wish there were a source for it in the Boston area.) Ugly ugly interior. (Who knew they were still making those same dark red vinyl covered banquettes from the '50's?)Brand new and just as gross. NO atmosphere. At 6pm on Tues night we were the only people there, and our nice waitress was inept.
Maybe the falafel or schwarma or some other dish is really good, but with the quality of food we had tonight, I can't imagine this place will last. Dok Bua and Dorado's across the street etc.etc. We will go back for take- out of that terrific Shirin rice, but that's it for now.
Would agree with your assessment but when we went (first week), the rice was awful. Glad to see that has improved. In contrast to Khayyam, i was in DC on business in a shopping mall part of town but I survived by getting takeout everyday at a small persian takeout place. The rice was in big steaming trays covered with cheesecloth Excellent and inexpensive.
Yes, g, that does not surprise me.After all, the Irani cuisine is famous for a number of rice dishes. I tell you, the more i have restaurant experiences (and find out the innumerable reasons behind those experiences) it really discourages me from saying anything about the restaurant world.(see my recent post on LaVerdad tortillas and the reason for their changing nature) So, the scenario at Khayyam could be one of so many i.e.: the Irani woman who normally makes the rice was out sick that day;the chef is not from Iran, but Lebanon, so his falafel may be great but not his polo murgh;they ran out of cardamom tea that day and tried to get by with plain black tea,etc etc etc. It's too bad, really,not knowing the reasons. But if CHs continue to check places and post about their experiences, I guess we'll often be as informed as we can be.
p.s.what IS my problem??it serves me right not to have done my CH homework before trying this place.... but I was in a rush to get out the door that day sigh.
Here's what i should have read first:
but at least I discovered that great rice dish to tell you about.