Another reason to join us for dinner – you get reviews! From Gerry about the May 18th dinner in Montclair. Thanks, Gerry!
Experiencing Persian Cuisine!
Nine hungry and eager RPCVs and guests occupied the central table at Kei Kabob Persian Restaurant in Montclair. Owner and head chef Ashkan Khalaj from Karaj, Iran and his friendly staff of young waitresses welcomed us and took orders. Mr. Khalaj learned to cook from his grandmother and mother. For 8 years he cooked and sold kabobs outside his orchard in Karaj, an agricultural area west of Tehran.
After perusing the menu and getting some suggestions from Gerry Gillio (RPCV Iran), they chose appetizers a mildly spicy Kashk e bademjan (slightly spicy sautéed eggplant, caramelized onions, garlic and mint) served with warm taftoon-flatbread, hummus, and mast-o-khiar (yoghurt with diced cucumber and mint). For main dishes they selected fesenjan-a stew with duck cooked in a sauce of ground walnuts and pomegranate syrup served with fluffy basmati rice, gormeh sabzi-beef stew made with red kidney beans and fresh green herbs and served with rice, and kabobs of chicken, beef, or Cornish hen. Most people were too full to order desserts so only three shared walnut baghlava-a flaky pastry- or sholeh zard-a sweet rice pudding made with saffron and rosewater. Hot tea was served in small glasses alongside qand -small squares of sugar.
EVERYTHING was delicious. Each portion was generous. Service was not rushed. The small restaurant is tastefully decorated with Persian artifacts and accommodates up to 50 diners. Reservations for a Friday and Saturday night are suggested.