Barbari Bread, Hummus
Papadum – Mint Chutney, Tamarind Chutney
Kash Bademjan – Persian Eggplant and Walnut Dip
Vegetable Samosa – Crispy Pastry, Seasoned Potatoes, Peas / Amritsari Fish Pakora – Batter fried Fish, Herbs, Spices / Tandoori Chicken – Chicken Breast, Yogurt, Shallots, Lemon, Spices
Chicken Kabob, Chelo Kabob Koobideh, Grilled Tomato, Lemon
Fesenjan – Chicken, Sauce of Pomegranate Molasses and Ground Walnuts
Nihari – Beef Stew with Bone Marrow, Julienned Ginger, Cilantro, Lemon, Onion, Turmeric, Red Pepper
Chicken Tikka Masala – BBQ Boneless Chicken, Tomato Gravy, Cream
Aloo Gobi – Potato, Cauliflower, Spices
Palak Paneer – Firm Indian Cheese, Spinach Puree, Cream
Tahdig – Persian Crispy Rice
Ghormeh Sabzi – Beef, Sautéed Herbs, Leeks, Beans, Parsley, Green Onions, Bitter Greens, Fenugreek
Gulab Jamun – Milk Dumpling, Cardamom Syrup
Baklava Cake – Honey Spice Cake, Greek Yogurt, Baklava Syrup, Walnuts, Pistachios, Almonds
To say that a first visit to Shiraz Restaurant was eye opening would be an understatement, the diverse menu of Indian and Persian specialties cooked by Chef Jainine Jaffer frequently improving upon previously tasted versions of the same and occasionally offering flavors never experienced prior, thus it was as a group of thirteen that Dinner was sat down to on Saturday night with a wide range of cultural backgrounds represented and not one unimpressed by a four course spread served over 150 minutes.
Now open under new ownership for two months, the former home of Habib’s given a fresh coat of paint and new linens under the management of Origin India’s Raja Abdul Majid, it was shortly after 6:30pm that the whole Baker’s dozen was seated at a lengthy table where share plates awaited, a prix fixe arranged by Chef Jaffer ready to be served family style and many electing to enjoy their meal with Cocktails or housemade Ginger Ale from mixologist Jozef Letasi.
Truly a striking space, everything from statues to etchings combined with comfortable seats and good lighting creating the sort of place well-suited for groups while even live music from the stage is never particularly loud, it was as conversation began amongst friends new and old that housemade Barbari Bread was presented, the cold Butter largely ignored in the setting of creamy Hummus prior to all receiving a crispy Papadum served alongside tangy Tamarind and fiery Mint Chutney.
Happy to offer a mix of dishes from each section of the menu in sharable portions, a total of two to three of each actual serving size enough to sate all present and generate several pounds of leftovers, it was with even those leery of Eggplant’s texture finding enjoyment in Kash Bademjan that two large platters presented the night’s first show-stopper, a mixed plate of lightly fried Fish and Chicken from the Tandoor both offering good spice while large Samosas stuffed with fragrant Potatoes and Peas were crisp and delicate instead of oily and heavy like those found on most Indian Buffets around town.
At this point resetting plates and serviceware, an inevitable blending of sauces nonetheless soon to follow, it was along with fluffy Naan and Basmati Rice that plates of Tahdig were offered as a bed to two styles Kabob plus grilled Tomatoes, the ground Sirloin of Chelo Koobideh expectedly a favorite of all from children to septuagenarians while Chicken Breast prepared simply with Shallots and Onion Juice plus mixed Herbs was as juicy rewarmed the next day as it was hot off the grill.
At this point already seeing some getting full, the temptations of both soft Bread and flavorful Proteins causing many to grab seconds even though a whole round of Stews remained, suffice it to say that Raja and Jainine did not let up in serving a total of six bowls at each end of the table, Nihari in thick Gravy quickly finding favor amongst those fond of heat while Chicken Tikka Masala provided comfortable familiarity with a particularly long linger thanks to what seemed like more Cream than versions tasted previously.
Setting aside plenty of space for Fesenjan, the Iranian specialty of shredded Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses and Ground Walnuts undoubtedly this well-traveled diner’s favorite culinary discovery of 2018, it was certainly not without also eating several spoonfuls of Ghormeh Sabzi that savories concluded both Indian and Vegetarian, a bowl of Aloo Gobi offering pleasant heat and great consistency while Palak Paneer was more enjoyable than others in Las Vegas thanks to more of the springy Cheese and beyond-Steakhouse smooth Spinach Puree.
Told by Mr. Majid at the last visit that Chef Jaffer’s French training provided her with a keen eye for Pastry, her Galub Jamun again more firm and texturally pleasing than any other in town, it was as a special treat that she also constructed an off-menu Cake for the party, the idea of Baklava here presented warm from a Bundt pan with a Greek Yogurt yielding plenty of moisture even before honeyed Syrup and Nuts were ladled over the top.
FIVE STARS: Now the third encounter with Chef Jaffer’s Cuisine in a month, both small and large groups plus off-site catering all delivering great results under the watchful eye of Raja Abdul Majid, it can safely be said that Shiraz is truly a Restaurant unlike any other in Las Vegas and one that many will hopefully continue to discover and return to for many years to come.
RECOMMENDED: Barbari Bread, Butter Naan, Kash Bademjan, Vegetable Samosa, Chelo Kabob Koobideh, Fesenjan, Palak Paneer, Ghormeh Sabzi, Tahdig, Gulab Jamun.
AVOID: N/A – even the Hummus is better than most.
TIP: See Shiraz’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ShirazLasVegas for an upcoming list of events or stop by Saturday nights for live music, bites and drinks in the lounge. For catering, Email the Restaurant directly or take a look at EZCater for added convenience.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.