Be Here Now / Eat Here Now – however you find your zen it’s all good right? Mine happens to be cramming my mouth as full as possible on as regular a basis as is feasible. Indeed that’s how this website began, restaurant reviews from a disgruntled reader of other restaurant reviewers. That was 14 years ago. Time flies.
In truth though I find restaurant reviews terribly anachronistic these days; a clumsy attempt to tell a complex narrative through a single slice or two in time. What if the chef quits tomorrow, what if the sun never comes up, what if there’s a global pandemic.
All that said, I do still like to ruminate and ramble and rattle off thoughts once the fork finally hits plate. Through 2020 I’ve posted the odd singular dish report and I quite like the format. I think it also stands up handsomely on its own, as part of Gastronomic SLC’s newer and nimbler design this year. So here goes. Eat here now.
These two plates are from SLC’s Shahrazad Market – a Middle Eastern market slash restaurant, that’s been around for quite some time. Recently I’ve heard a lot of glowing praise about the restaurant side of things and the Iranian cuisine on the menu.
Shahrazad Market – appetizer sampler
This isn’t even half the bounty of the very generous vegetarian sampler, easily enough to feed three or four; it comes with a quartet of falafel, four rice stuffed grape leaves, a tub of hummus, tub of baba ghanouj and third tub of tabbouleh.
The falafel breaks open into that assertive jade green interior that re-assures that you’ve made a solid choice for dinner. Crispy shell and performed interior, lovely. The hummus is decent enough in that, oh I have some hummus, type of way The creamy and smoky baba ghannouj is far superior and more texturally interesting. I tossed some roughly sliced tortilla strips into the air fryer while I unpacked everything – impromptu crispy dippers.
The grape leaves were solid little pellets of carb that I could take or leave personally, but the tabouleh was sound, a bright tumble or herbaceous parsley and acid spiked onion and tomato.
Shahrazad Market – Shahrazad special
Why pick one kebab when three will do. I’ll level with you actually, I’d order fifty kebabs if it was socially acceptable. This was the biggest composed platter Shahrazad offered though; a trio of grilled meats comprising jujeh, koobideh and barg – chicken breast, ground beef and steak respectively. I’m certain you can order ala carte too if you want to go bigger.
The chicken was as juicy as it was vibrantly golden yellow. The beef was a mixed bag mind. The ground beef was fattily-rich and immensely superior to the simpler steak which I found to be on the tough side and overcooked. I still ate it. Kabobs are the perfect Spring time go-to right now, ably adept at warding off an April shower, light enough should the sun brave an appearance.
Both dishes where a complete steal for the price. Speaking of which: Vegetarian Sampler, $10.99. Shahrazad Special, $16.99 Ordered via DoorDash.
1615 2100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84119
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake. I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”.
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