When thinking about where to eat, Persian food might not be in your regular go-tos, but Let’s Eat host and Seattle Times restaurant critic Providence Cicero says you should definitely give it a shot.
“I would urge people to give it a try,” says Cicero, who recommends the authentic flavors at Caspian in Bellevue.
The Bellevue restaurant is the new location for two brothers known for operating their restaurant in Seattle’s University District since 1993.
“What they’re doing at Caspian is essentially the home-style cooking of Iran, and this is very rich herbal stews with meats in them, and kabobs – we’re all familiar with kabobs – and rice dishes,” says Cicero. “Iran is along the Mediterranean there and the food is not so unfamiliar once you get there.”
She says Caspian is a little hard to find, between auto dealerships on Bellevue’s Northup Way, but the owners have done a tremendous job building a “luxurious setting.”
“They have transformed this kind of industrial office park space into a really gracious dining room,” says Cicero. “The two brothers oversee the dining room. They’re very courtly.”
Service at Caspian will begin with traditional Lavash bread served with onion and fresh herbs.
“They give you a plate of fresh herbs and raw onion, and what you do is wrap a piece of onion and some of the herbs in the Lavash and you eat it,” says Cicero.
For first timers, she recommends trying the beef kabobs.
“I think the Koobideh, the beef kabobs, are very approachable, because it’s kind of like a meatball on a stick.”
She also recommends the Cornish Game hens, which she couldn’t believe survived kabob-style cooking.
“They skewer them and they’re delicious. They are marinated in saffron and all these delicious spice blends.”
Cicero says the atmosphere feels very celebratory and it’s an excellent dining experience for a group. She also says the food isn’t too pricey, with most dishes under $20.
“If you share and get a whole assortment, it’s very inexpensive,” says Cicero. “I really enjoyed it a lot.”