I haven’t been impressed by most of the Persian restaurants in the DC metro area. Having been fortunate enough to have experienced a broad range of home-made Persian food, Shamshiry is the only place that comes close to being authentic.
Cost – $
Service – A-
The staff here is always friendly and attentive. I tend to drink a great deal of water during meals and with a pitcher readily available at the table I can serve myself without having to bother the staff. As a regular, my favorite appetizers and entrees are now served the moment I sit down and any special requests are taken care of with a smile.
Food – A-
I still believe to this day that no one makes better ghormeh sabzi than the mother of my ex. After the split, I made it my mission to find a restaurant with ghormeh sabzi that rivaled her’s and the closest I have gotten is Shamshiry. The dish is served with a mound of white basmati rice sprinkled with saffron nd topped with pieces of tahdiq. Chunks of tender beef and kidney beans hide among the dark green stew. The mix of savory herbs are highlighted by the citrus notes of the lemon. With each spoonful you can actually taste the time and effort put into this dish.
Although I prefer the mast-o musir at Moby Dick (I love the generous helping of shallots), the mast-o musir at Shamshiry is extremeyl popular. Its yogurty tartness is refreshing and the sweet hint of shallot prepares your taste buds for the entrees to come. No meal can start without the huge plate of tadiq topped with gheymeh; a succulent eggplant stew studded with lentils and small cuts of beef.
In my opinion, the kebab at Shamshiry trumps Moby Dick. Both the jujeh and kubideh are delicious. In my opinion, the only thing lacking here are the desserts. I love to finish off the meal with a few cups of chai. Note: the ghormeh sabzi and the gheymeh are not on the regular menu.
Décor – C+
Like other Eastern restaurants that emphasize the culinary experience, the décor is spartan. Walking through the glass doors, you face a dirty window to the kitchen that displays the heart and soul of this establishment. Flashes of fire catch your eye but the greased glass hides any action going on. The tables and chairs are reminiscent of outdoor cafes that look strangely out of place indoors. A mirror does double duty as a wall giving the impression of a larger space and is also great for people watching in the restaurant.
Feel – B+
This isn’t a restaurant that you would want to venture into alone. Groups of people are the norm with parties ranging from 2 to 20. It’s a restaurant that you come to for two purposes; to enjoy authentic Persian cuisine and to socialize. Shamshiry is a place that pays the same amount of attention to a table of few or many. No matter the occasion, this place still remains as my first choice to a delicious and casual meal that finally rivals the food of Persian homes.
Shamshiry is located at 8607 Westwood Center Drive in Vienna.