RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Residents have another cuisine choice, with Pardis Persian Grill, on East Ridgewood Avenue.
The restaurant opened on Oct. 1 and Ravi Bhalla, one of Hoboken's at-large council members and a lawyer in Rochelle Park, heard about it from a friend and tried it out on only its second night.
"Everything was stellar," he told Daily Voice. "They just did a great job."
Bhalla said the food was very authentic -- and added that Persian food is very approachable, even for people unfamiliar with it.
Persian cuisine is based on natural, earthbound flavors that anyone could easily embrace. It doesn't really require acquiring a taste for it.
Many of the menu items will seem familiar, as "Mediteranean food": the appetizers include hummus and baba ganoush, and there are lamb, chicken and beef kabobs. But there are both distinct dishes and subtleties in spices that distinguish the food.
Omid Minoukadeh, a business partner in the restaurant, told Daily Voice that, while you may be able to get kabobs from other cuisines, like Turkish or Arabic, the marination and spices are different, especially in Persian food's use of saffron.
As for more Persian-specific dishes, Bhalla described paneer-sabzi in a Facebook post, as "an amazing yet simple Persian appetizer which is a mix of herbs like basil, mint and cilantro leaves with scallions, feta cheese, radish and walnuts. Simple but light and refreshing."
The dessert menu includes both familiar items and those more exotic, like a saffron ice cream made with pistachio, cream and rosewater. One Yelp user described it as "beautifully presented and quite delicious."
Yelp reviewers provide a chorus of compliments, from Pardis' first month. Its rating is 4.5 stars, out of 5, based on nine reviews -- and it would have been even higher, if all the reviewers had managed to included star ratings with their glowing reviews.
Minoukadeh said the restaurant's emphasis is good food, of good quality.
"It's all freshly-made homemade food," he said, including the bread and desserts.
He said he and his partners have prior restaurant experience, but this is the first restaurant of their own. And they hope to open another, if this is successful.
"But not too quickly," Minoukadeh added. "It's step by step."
The restaurant, which Minoukadeh said is the only Persian restaurant in New Jersey, is at 47 E. Ridgewood Ave. For more information, visit its website -- or simply go taste for yourself.