March 1, 2024, 13:09

Dynamite Persian Food at Eyval

Dynamite Persian Food at Eyval

I’ll start with the cocktails at Eyval, a Persian restaurant that opened last year—and so should you. Gin tends not to agree with me, and yet I couldn’t help but steal sips of a friend’s orange-blossom Negroni, a cold and viscous concoction that lingered on my tongue and in my memory (I can taste it now!), the intoxicating, floral perfume of the orange-blossom water achieving thrilling alchemy with the herbal gin, bitter Aperol, and sweet vermouth.

Lamb ribs are glazed in date and tamarind and finished with walnuts, barberries, and pickled hot chilies.

For myself, I ordered a Conference of the Birds—a sour-candy-like mix made with more orange-blossom water and Aperol, plus vodka, lemon, and honey—and the tart, smoky Limoo Margarita, featuring mezcal infused with limoo amani (dried lime), an ingredient used in Iran in soups and stews, the rim of the glass coated in coarse salt and flakes of mild, fruity Aleppo pepper.

The kitchen’s spin on the eggplant dish known as kashke bademjan involves roasting an eggplant whole and drizzling it in thick squiggles of salted whey, topped with fried garlic and onions, mint oil, and fresh mint.

 

One of the things that sets Eyval apart from Sofreh, the Brooklyn Persian restaurant where Eyval’s chef last worked, is its inspired riffs on street food, including kebabs.

I’m happy to report that the dynamite drinks portended dynamite food. Eyval was opened by Ali Saboor, a former chef at Sofreh—the other best Persian restaurant in Brooklyn, if not all of New York—whose owners helped finance this new place. You can choose between two options for bread or, better yet, get both—an oblong barbari, with grooves like a racetrack and a speckling of nigella and sesame seeds, and a round komaj, a soft, sweet bun made from a dough enriched with milk and eggs and seasoned with turmeric, perforated into quarters, brushed with butter, and adorned with cumin seeds. Both are perfect for scooping up dips, including a sharp whipped feta with walnuts and radish and a broccoli-rabe borani: strained, salted yogurt topped with blanched florets, an herb purée, pistachio, coriander seed, and chili oil and flakes.

A slightly sweet bread called komaj (left), baked from dough enriched with milk and eggs and seasoned with turmeric, comes perforated for easy tearing into quarters.

The Green Tahini Salad, a mix of Little Gem, frisée, radicchio, radish, and seasonal fruit (navel and blood orange, recently), is elevated to transcendence by the inclusion of warm medjool dates, a powerful kick from grilled serrano pepper in the tahini dressing (which also contains honey and mint), and a generous sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. “Kashke Bademjan” appears in quotes on the menu because it’s an interpretation of the traditional appetizer: an eggplant lightly fried and roasted whole, the charred, silky flesh then drizzled with kashk, made from cooked yogurt, and finished with crushed walnuts, fried garlic and onion, mint oil, and fresh mint. Fat crosshatched coins of supple trumpet-mushroom stem, skewer-grilled and served with pickled beechwood mushrooms over beluga lentils simmered in fenugreek-spiked cream, were reminiscent of scallops and even more delicious than the actual scallop kebab, though that was nice, too, four plump bronzed mollusks over a luscious emulsion of tamarind pulp and squid ink.

Eyval occupies a somewhat strangely sprawling corner storefront, with three dining rooms, in Bushwick.

Desserts include rosewater cream puffs, dusted in crushed pistachio.

There’s also a chicken kebab, as well as a ground-beef-and-lamb iteration, both excellent. (One thing that distinguishes Eyval from Sofreh is inspired riffs on street-food staples.) But, unless you’re ordering the whole menu (a valid choice), I’d prioritize the lamb ribs, sticky-sweet with date and tamarind, scattered with walnut, barberries, and pickled chilies, and the larger dishes, including a kebab-inspired, flawlessly grilled rack of lamb, sliced into beautiful, buttery chops, served with a bowl of perfectly steamed, rose-and-saffron-scented basmati rice. Saboor’s version of ghormeh sabzi is a particular showstopper, a braised veal shank (don’t forget to check the bone for marrow) crowned with a crisp disk of herbed-rice tahdig and rising regally from a rich stew of tender kidney beans and melty greens and alliums, including parsley, spinach, and leeks, plus fenugreek and limoo amani. Plucking out a puckered leathery lime and eating it whole, sticky and sour, left me feeling as lucky as if I’d found the baby in a king cake. Speaking of cake, desserts included a squishy square of it, soaked in cardamom syrup and topped with saffron ice cream, second only to the noon e khamei, ethereal, crackly choux pastry sandwiching dreamy rosewater cream. (Dishes $5-$45.) ♦

Sourse: newyorker.com

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