Monday, June 09, 2014

The Chicago Dining World Tour: A Fine Midday Persian Meal at Noon O Kabab

Noon O Kabab
4651 N. Kedzie, Chicago

Last year I made a point of eating at Chicago area restaurants representing as many ethnic cuisines as I could.

Dubbing it the Chicago Dining World Tour, or more colloquially, my Sethnic Dining Expedition, I covered about 50 different cultures and wrote recaps of all of them (except for a late-December meal at Czech Plaza in Berwyn, which I still hope to write).

Continuing this exploration has not been such an acute intent in 2014, but I've returned to some places visited last year, dined at other examples of ethnicities I already covered and will always be open to trying additional cuisines.

Noon O Kabab, an attractively-appointed Persian restaurant in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood, has been on my shortlist since late 2013 and I purchased a $15 Groupon for $30 worth of food a couple months ago.

But my friend Ken--a frequent Sethnic dining companion--and I only got there for lunch last Thursday.

Arriving, appropriately, a bit after Noon, we got a nice table near the window looking out on Kedzie Ave., and were assisted by a friendly waiter.

With his guidance, rather than select a more familiar appetizer from Noon O Kabab's reasonably-priced lunch menu--such as Hummus or Baba Ghannouj--we ordered Kash-Ke-Bademjaan (roasted eggplant pureed with onion, garlic, mint and dried yogurt).

This was quite tasty, and was quite welcomed by the complimentary pita bread, for which no other dip was provided.

Somewhat puzzlingly, a plate of lettuce, raw onions and feta cheese cubes had accompanied the pita bread.

We weren't sure how to consume this, but when the Kash-Ke-Bademjaan arrived, Ken--a natural problem solver--didn't just dip the pita bread in it, he made a sandwich that included the spread, vegetables and cheese.

So I did likewise, and found this even more delicious.

In asking our waiter (whose name I didn't get) for entree suggestions, he recommended the Charbroiled Salmon with green rice off the lunch menu, or a combination of Lamb Shank and Koubideh (a skewer of grilled sirloin) off the main menu.

Both and these sounded good, and I almost went with the salmon, but opted instead for Chenjeh = tender ribeye steak.

Though this was shown on the menu as accompanied by white rice, I was intrigued by the green rice that sided the salmon, and accepted the waiter's suggestion that I get half and half.

The rice was good but the steak was really delicious. As advertised, it was truly tender, and though lacking much seasoning, it really didn't need any.

Ken went with a Lamb Koubideh, which is seasoned ground lamb accompanied by rice.

He also got half green rice and half white, and cleared his plate even more entirely than I did, declaring that his meal was "excellent."

With the Diet Cokes we each got, we had already topped off the $30 Groupon, but were intrigued by the desserts, especially as a couple were quite low-priced.

For just $1.95 each, we got and split an order of Bomieh (cake mix lightly fried in vegetable oil dipped in saffron honey syrup) and Zulbia (plain dough lightly pan fried in vegetable oil and dipped in saffron honey syrup).

As the waiter described it, both are basically fried dough, with the Bomieh being cut into tube-like pieces and the Zulbia being roughly equivalent to a funnel cake.

Well, shaped in any configuration, the combination of fried dough and honey was truly scrumptious and made for a sweet end to a savory meal.

And while the lunch menu seemed to be the best deal--especially if accompanied by a Groupon offer, though none appear currently listed--any time would apparently be a good time to visit Noon O Kabab again.

(The restaurant opens at 11am daily but also lists some breakfast entrees on its lunch menu.)

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