Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Moby Dick: Delicious Kabobs & Shirin Polo

If you were to eat at a restaurant named Moby Dick, what would you expect of the cuisine? My first thought would be seafood, or maybe traditional New England. I certainly would not expect a Persian and Middle Eastern Style Barbecue restaurant. Yet there is a famous Moby Dick restaurant in Tehran, Iran, and it appears some people in the U.S. have adopted the name for their own Persian restaurants.  I am still not sure the original reason for the naming of this place, but there is some type of connection.

As part of a recent food blogger dinner, which was complimentary, I visited Moby Dick, located on Huntington Avenue in Boston. This is an independent place, not connected to the chain of Moby Dick restaurants based out of Washington, D.C. It is a small hole-in-the-wall spot, which you might pass by without giving it a second glance. Parking is difficult but it is close to a couple subway stops and gets lots of foot traffic from local college students.  

Inside, it is a small, casual place that looks like nothing special and which does not instill high expectations. But you must give Moby Dick a chance as its plain veneer conceals some freshly made and top notch food. I was pleasantly surprised at the high quality of the cuisine, and it deserves a hearty recommendation. Who would have suspected to find such a worthy spot in this locale?

The restaurant is open every day, except Monday, for lunch and dinner. The menu consists of Appetizers (most $3.95-$5.95), A La Carte (salads and yogurt for $2.95-$5.95), Rice Platters ($14.95-$22.95), Sandwiches ($6.95-$10.95), and Vegetarian ($4.95-$7.50). During lunch, they also have a number of organic specials. Rice Platters come with one or two skewers of meat, and are served with basmati rice, barbecued tomato, pita bread and a choice of garden salad, Shirazi salad or cucumber yogurt.  Sandwiches may be filled with ground beef, steak, lamb, chicken, vegetarian, or even swordfish. Plenty of diversity so that everyone should be able to find a meal that appeals to them. Prices are also reasonable, especially considering the quantity of food I witnessed on other people's dinners.

For our meal, we were presented with a diverse selection of dishes, family style, to sample a variety of their foods.

We began our meal with an appetizer platter, including: Mirza ghassemi, a dip of sauteed eggplant, onion, tomatoes and garlic; Falafel meatballs; Grape leaf wraps; Hummus and slices of pita bread. Everything seemed fresh, spiced well and tasted very good. Though I am not a big fan of eggplant, the others raved about the Mirza. I very much enjoyed the falafel and the hummus was quite tasty as well.

The Garden Salad, with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions, was topped with their house dressing, and again the ingredients were fresh.

As an entree, we received a platter of three kabobs, including ground beef, lamb and chicken. I was impressed with the meat, which was very tender, flavorful and moist. I had worried that the meat might be overcooked and dry, but that was very far from the case. I have had other kabobs before, and have to say that these meats were some of the best I have tasted. Your inner carnivore will certainly savor these meats.

We also had three rice dishes, including two vegetarian dishes. The Lubia Polo is a spicy dish of basmati rice with green beans, tomatoes, saffron and spices while the Adas Polo is a milder basmati rice dish with lentils, sauteed raisins, onions and spices. My favorite was the Shirin Polo, basmati rice with shredded chicken, orange peel, mountain berries, pistachio, almonds and saffron. This dish had an intriguing and tasty blend of citrus and spice, with some crunch from the nuts and plenty of moist chicken. I had a couple portions of this dish and probably could have devoured even more. The vibrant melange of flavors and textures meshed very well, pleasing my senses.

For dessert, we had some Baklava and Bastani, homemade Persian ice cream (pictured above), topped with pistachios. The Baklava was ok, not much different from others I have tried. The ice cream though was something new to me, and it possessed touches of saffron and rosewater. Though it was a bit floral, it was not overwhelming, and it had a nice creaminess to it.

Though you might be tempted to just walk by this restaurant, you should stop by and enjoy their reasonably priced, plentiful and delicious food. True passion goes into this restaurant, elevating it above your expectations. I will definitely be returning here, and give it a hearty recommendation. It is one of those excellent restaurants which largely operates under the radar, so impress your friends and take them there.

Moby Dick of Boston on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

You and your fellow bloggers were obviously treated to the best this woman has to offer, especially since your feast was complimentary. I saw a much different side
as a paying customer today. The food was tasty but what stood out was the appalling way she treated a
couple food delivery guys, openly berating and disparaging them for having the nerve to deliver her supplies one half hour earlier than she wanted-"I said I wanted the order between 2:30 and 4PM." She treated them like a couple uniforms rather than people. What a bitch!!! And...she showed she was an equal opportunity
tyrant by bossing around her one female employee. Maybe Moti was having a bad day or maybe the glowing reviews of her restaurant have gone to her head. I'm not sure I will go out of my way to return to Moby Dick.

Richard Auffrey said...

How often have you eaten there? This could have been an isolated incident. I would agree that such actions would cause me as well to view a restaurant in a negative light. I do have plans to return there, on my own dime, and see what happens. And I will report back.