Best Middle Eastern Restaurant - 2004
Caspian Persian Grill - CLOSED
The menu is chock-full of wondrous Persian cuisine -- which is a politically innocuous way of saying Iranian food. All this may seem quite exotic, but many of the offerings here are surprisingly familiar, like hummus, stuffed grape leaves, and kebabs of chicken, salmon, tenderloin, and lamb -- all tasty renditions but nothing to declare a fatwah over. It's the other items listed that catapult Caspian past the ubiquitous, formula-driven pita emporiums. Absolutely distinctive (and delectable) dishes include khoresht stews of beef, chicken, or lamb; fragrant ashe reshteh, soup plumped with kidney beans, garbanzos, lentils, and noodles and greened with spinach, chives, cilantro, parsley, and mint; and khoresht e' fesenjoon, chicken with an audacious pomegranate/walnut sauce -- jars of which are available for sale next door at Caspian's grocery, Nu Taste. The menu states that "nearly three thousand years of history, tradition, and love have gone into the meals you are about to enjoy," and yet prices are no higher than that of other Middle Eastern establishments that have only 2,000 years behind them. You can't beat that for a bargain.