Sofreh

Restaurants, Persian Prospect Heights
4 out of 5 stars
Sofreh
1/5
Photograph: Gabi Porter
Sofreh
2/5
Photograph: Gabi Porter
Sofreh
3/5
Photograph: Gabi Porter
Sofreh
4/5
Photograph: Gabi Porter
Sofreh
5/5
Photograph: Gabi Porter

A ceiling-mounted projector was showing black-and-white film clips of mustachioed men fistfighting and old Iranian commercials—apparently, all for my very own viewing pleasure, since I was in the restroom. This quirky experience nicely sums up the restaurant as a whole: authentically Persian yet inherently Brooklyn.

The eatery’s name refers to the cloth that Iranians spread on the floor and cover with platters of food, evoking images of warm, homey dining. But you won’t see any linens at this spot: The restaurant sports cement tables and cement floors with a white-painted brick wall, making for a clean, modern feel in the lively dining room. The cozy vibes arrive only when chef-owner Nasim Alikhani’s food hits the table.

The menu is a culinary crash course in Persian cuisine, highlighting many classic (but perhaps unfamiliar) techniques and ingredients. An unsuspecting greens-and-feta salad may seem like something to skip, yet the crunch of romaine hearts and salty feta with sharp spring onions and tangy lemon made for one of the simplest, most satisfying salads I’ve had all year. A spread of grilled eggplant with caramelized onions, yogurt and walnuts creates a rich, smoky paste that’s perfect for scooping up with the airy house bread.

Lighter starters shifted to heavier mains, all alongside bowls of fragrant saffron rice. Juicy roast chicken is served in a sweet-tart plum sauce that’s topped with dried barberries (like super-sour currants) and the common garnish of string fries (like the Potato Stix you loved as a kid). Braised in a turmeric broth, a Flintstones-sized lamb shank falls apart when it’s casually nudged by a fork. And if you’ve never had tahdig, the crispy rice found at the bottom of the pot, your whole life will change when you start crunching on all that greasy, starchy goodness.

Ending with the texturally unparalleled and extremely sweet rosewater sorbet, laced with chewy vermicelli rice noodles (known as faloodeh), the meal was a love note to Iranian cuisine, bridging the gap between those who know the food well and those who are about to discover their newest culinary obsession. If Alikhani’s mission is to make you feel right at home, then she has truly succeeded, private screening room and all.

By: Jake Cohen

Posted:

Venue name: Sofreh
Contact:
Address: 75 St Marks Ave
New York
11217
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