There are two things I know about Persian royalty: Their meals lasted for weeks at a time, and they would feel right at home at the Royal Persian Grill. From Hodu to Kush, you would be hard-pressed to find better Beef Bamya than right here in Teaneck. It’s an oddity. The epicurean elitists have shuttered most specialty restaurants in town. Good luck with your menu if it doesn’t include steak, sushi, and three kinds of burgers. My favorite restaurant, Fish O’ the Cs, fell victim to the lack of heifer-based product.
But, there is one thing kosher foodies like less than one-trick ponies: hole-in-the-wall crampiness. The Royal Persian Grill has a décor that calls to mind, well, a small, one-bedroom apartment in downtown Tehran. There are stalls at Kosherfest with more style.
If you are keeping score, that’s two strikes. But, on the third pitch, Royal Persian hits a walk-off home run. The food is excellent. The price-to-value ratio is one of the best in Teaneck. And, if the décor and service seem a little bizarre, you surely won’t notice once the food arrives.
Start with the Yemenite Beef soup. Whether you like beef, or just like Yemenite food, you will love this dish. If you don’t like beef, have it anyway. It is that good. The white bean and vegetable soups are okay and will scratch your soup itch in a pinch.
Next, try the hummus. Have it with chickpeas, or falafel, or mushrooms, or beef, or lamb. Once you add a protein, you may quickly find yourself full, so order wisely. This is among the better hummuses west of the Holy Land, so be prepared to share.
The main dishes are predictable, but in a warm nostalgic way. Shwarma is perfectly seasoned and liberally served. The Kabob offerings are shushantastic. The Baby Chicken is the best of the bunch, if you don’t mind eating babies. The grown up chickens, lamb, and beef taste like just the right amount of Persia, without the need for a shower. They are all delicious. The schnitzel and grilled chicken are acceptable, but hardly unique. I would avoid the burgers. They are pointless. And, while their rib-steak is juicy and flavorful, you are missing the point. No way did Achashveirosh eat rib steak. If you want steak, you have better options.
Instead, order the Ghorme Zabzi. It is an authentic Persian beef stew and it is tasty. And, if you can’t stomach the local cuisine, why did you come? Dougies is just down the street (and their review is next!)
The side dishes are well-appointed. The fries, rice, and Israeli salad are all staples and meet your expectations. Shout out to the string beans in tomato sauce, which earns extra points for originality and color.
Finally, I never review desserts. Not a fan. But, you must try the Halvah Ice Cream. Even if you don’t like Halvah or Ice Cream, you will be talking about it the entire trip home.
Royal Persian Grill gets a bad rap. Or, worse, gets no rap at all. But, every person I have spoken to who has eaten there, offers an enthusiastic rave. Try it.
Grade (out of 4 stars):
Attire: Vashti Casual
By Ari Weisbrot