Pars Cuisine delivers excellent Persian and Mediterranean specialties

Versie Dortch
Rooster souvlaki, 1 of the Greek dishes served at Pars. (Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal)

Pars Cuisine is 1 of the longest-operating achievement tales on the Albuquerque cafe scene.

Iranian immigrants and married pair Mohammad and Shahnaz Tafti opened the cafe in 1984 in a modest storefront on Montgomery. Their achievement spurred a shift to a a lot greater location on the I-25 corridor in 2001. An expansion followed to accommodate a burgeoning banquet enterprise.

Prepandemic, it was an enjoyable place to be on a Saturday evening. The sunken dining room less than a ceiling draped with fabric called to brain a lavish tent in the middle of a desert oasis. You’d share plates of Persian, Greek and Turkish food items and watch belly dancers set on a clearly show, and when you still left, you’d almost invariably go a line of folks ready to get in.

It was just the type of vibrant scene that the COVID-19 squashed.

An appetizer of mast-o khiar, a yogurt-centered dip, with triangles of pita bread. (Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal)

In fact, when I frequented Pars for lunch not long ago, the server, who was in any other case dazzling and cheery, grew a little melancholy chatting of the pandemic’s outcomes. Company experienced been slow, she reported, and to make matters worse, the takeout consumers had stopped tipping.

The scene that day echoed her words and phrases. The dining area was empty save for a lone diner scraping leftovers from his plate into a Styrofoam container.

Persian baklava, a person of Pars’ dessert choices, with Turkish coffee. (Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal)

Circumstances like these could result in a cafe to loosen its specifications, but the food items coming out of the Pars kitchen area that day was outstanding. An appetizer of mast-o khiar ($6), Farsi for yogurt and cucumber, arrived on a plate with triangles of new, heat pita bread arranged close to it like the factors of a crown. Neat and bitter, the dip resembles Greek tzatziki and Indian raita, but the addition of walnuts and a hefty dose of dill presents it a small more heft. I instructed my pal we could cancel the rest of our buy and just consume this.

Thankfully, we soldiered as a result of the relaxation of the menu, which is divided involving Persian and Mediterranean specialties. Pars offers a stellar edition the Persian stew Fesenjan ($12) built from sautéed walnuts floor up in pomegranate sauce. The dish originated from an area of northern Iran together the Caspian Sea exactly where pomegranates are imagined to have originated. The fruit represented immortality and fertility in Persian culture. Pars’ edition is thick and earthy, with an rigorous sweet and bitter taste that you minimize with spoonfuls of nutty, fragrant basmati rice served on a separate plate. Rooster, a customary accompaniment to this dish, charges $4 excess.

Pars’ Mediterranean entrees are heavy with Greek specialties like moussaka, gyros and dolmas. In an purchase of Souvlaki Hen ($13), massive cubes of white meat chicken gilded with paprika and charred at the edges from the hearth have been served off the skewer. The hen was moist and smoky and picked up a very little zing of acid from the marinade. It was served with a cup of mast-o khiar and rice. The lamb or beef edition is $3 more.

The menu carries a prolonged record of desserts, most for significantly less than $5. Persian Baklava ($3.50) is a variation of the familiar Greek model. As a substitute of staying layered, the filo dough is wrapped all over a floor almond and pistachio filling that drips with honey and rosewater, a typical sweetener in Iranian cooking that, as the identify implies, imparts slight flowery notes. It was very very good and, as with the Greek edition, the smaller serving is extra than ample.

There’s a quite comprehensive beverages menu with beer, wine and wine-based cocktails. At $5, a cup of Turkish coffee in a demitasse cup is effective out to about a quarter a sip. Nevertheless, just about every 1 of all those sips packed a wallop of sugar and espresso. It was served with a piece of Turkish Delight, the popular gummy sweet coated in powdered sugar.

Pars has a good deal of gluten-free of charge and vegetarian options. The menu has quite a few sampler plates that are a good way to share a wide range of appetizers, kebabs and desserts.

The server had an intensive information of the menu and was astute sufficient to steer me away from some misguided mixtures.

Tummy dancers or not, Pars is well worth a trip. The pandemic hasn’t impacted its top quality. It remains at the top rated of the city’s Center Eastern/Mediterranean scene.

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