Shalezeh, or Why I Can Still be Prom Queen

A Michelin Star is a big deal in my book. It is the gold standard, the highest peak, the zenith of a restaurant’s career…
It is like winning Prom Queen.
Something that definitely never happened to me. Theater nerds don’t REALLY factor into popularity contests.

Yeah that’s me in the middle…at our school’s lip synch contest…

ANYWAY…
Michelin stars really mean something. So when Grace and I headed to NYC’s only Michelin Starred Persian restaurant Shalezeh, I was ready to be impressed.
We started out with bread and this tahini dip. The tahini was VERY strong and thick – almost peanut-buttery in texture. At first it was nutty and comforting, but it later tasted sort of repetetive and dull. A little pepper or chile would really have kicked this baby up to interesting levels. 

The bread. The picture stinks…but so did the bread. Dry, leaden, nondescript. 

Koofteh Tabrizi - prunes and fava beans stuffed meat ball, served over tomato, sweet pea, turmeric, curry and saffron stew. This was the restaurant’s specialty, and it really was quite delicious. Tender beef, fragrant with tumeric and cinnamon, was stuffed with sweet, soft prunes and creamy fava beans. The prunes played so well off the savory beef and the tomatoey saffron soup was acidic, tangy, and provided a great, bright flavor to counteract the hearty meatball.
It was great….but not groundbreaking. Grace and I weren’t really hungry, so we called it a night after our meaty snack, but, really…it was yummy. Nothing less, but certainly nohting more. Not Michelin Star worthy. And this was the restaurant’s signature dish. The service was good, decor was fine, menu was classic, but not deserving of a coveted Michelin Star.
I mean, if that was the way we were doing it, I definitely could have been homecoming queen.
Maybe not. 

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