Caspian Grill: Persian Food 101 | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Cheap Eats

Caspian Grill: Persian Food 101

OK, quick quiz.

Sholeh zard is:

a) a woman who told 1,001 tales in order to save her life.
b) a ground beef or lamb dish made with tomatoes and onions.
c) the villain in Disney's Aladdin.
d) a dessert made with rosewater and saffron.

One more question -- interested in studying up on Persian cuisine by stuffing your face?

I have just the lunch buffet for you.

The Caspian Grill in Plantation offers one at $10.95 that includes platters of homemade hummus, spinach borani (yogurt, spinach, and spices mixture), Salad Olivieh (like a smooth potato salad with chicken), a house salad with mounds of finely grated radish atop lettuce and onions, and a variety of meat and bean stews.

There's bademjan (eggplant stew with beef cubes in a tomato-saffron sauce), koobideh (ground beef kebab), kufteh (resembling meatballs, made with beef, rice, parsley, cilantro, and dill), ghaimeb (yellow split peas and beef in a tomato-saffron sauce), and gormeh sabzi (red kidney beans and beef with parsley, cilantro, chive, fenugreek, and... wait for it... whole dried limes!)

You can eat these stews and spreads with squares of lavosh bread, or rice, or you can try tahdig, the crunchy bottom part of the rice. If that doesn't sound so appetizing to you, keep in mind that the server at the Caspian Grill told me, "The Persians fight over it!"

Oh and about sholeh zard? That's like a Persian saffron rice pudding. Sometimes you can find it at the lunch buffet for dessert. It's served in little plastic cups and sprinkled with cinnamon. If it tastes a bit floral? Well, that's the rosewater. And if perfumey is not your idea of the best way to end a meal, there's always the fresh watermelon.

If you have any mobility left after filling up at the Caspian Grill, take a stroll to Al-Salam, a store in the same plaza as Caspian Grill. Here you'll find fresh-from-the-oven, super-puffy homemade pita bread. Let us know what you think!

Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.