8631 Sancus Blvd.
Persian food at Polaris – who would’ve imagined?
We’ve made our way up to Noora’s Sancus Rd. location 3 times – the last with a gentleman who just returned from visiting family in Teheran – and each time found something new, interesting, and delicious.
And, each time, we couldn’t resist ordering (and reordering) the joojeh kebab. It’s not a complicated dish – it’s a cornish hen that’s been sectioned and grilled on a skewer – but, man, is it fantastic. The marinade is subtle but appealing, the meat is tender and succulent, and the controlled char puts it over the top. This experience, plus our visits to Jeddo Kebab, have led us to believe that Persian cuisine tends to have an unusually deft hand with poultry.
Insofar as Jeddo is the only other game in town for Persian food (that we know of) comparisons are inevitable. Noora takes it by a hair in the poultry category, but falls a bit behind on some of the other kebabs. The beef kubideh, for example, was perfectly pleasant but didn’t have quite the harmony of spicing or depth of meat flavor that Jeddo’s version had.
The apps – mostly dips – varied as well, sometimes even from visit to visit. The mirza ghasemi, a smoked eggplant and tomato spread, had a wonderful smoky flavor, but the texture varied significantly. No matter, though, as it was enjoyable either way. Their hummus was fine, and the kashk bademjan was enjoyable on its own merits but exhibited little of the whey that is intrinsic to the dish.
The real beauty of the dips is the delicious house made flatbreads that accompany. Towards the back of the dining room a bit of the kitchen projects forward – this area houses the tandoor oven in which Noora bakes the them. They’re wonderfully fragrant, with a crispiness that yields to chewiness, and the flavor ranges somewhere between that of an Indian naan and a saltine cracker.
Not unlike the joojeh, once we tried the Persian ice cream we couldn’t imagine forgoing it on return visits. Redolent of rosewater and saffron, and topped with crushed pistachio, it’s a rare ice cream surprise in a city that’s just about seen it all on that front. Oddly, on our last visit it came out in a bowl that sat on a plate drizzled with chocolate sauce. The chocolate makes little sense, flavor-wise, with the ice cream, but as it was separate it was easily ignored.
The space is pleasant and conspicuously clean, and features a raised seating platform where you can sit on provided pillows in lieu of chairs at a low table. Service was solid, if a bit harried when busy, and the management is personable and informative. Entrees range from $10-$20 (there doesn’t appear to be a lunch menu), and apps are generally in the $5 range. Vegetarian and vegan options are available.
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I’m wondering how does the food compare to Café Ephesus, in particular the kebabs? I know they are not the same (Turkish vs. Persian, etc.), but they have some similar offerings.
To be honest we haven’t tried the kebabs at Ephesus. Sounds like we should?
Cafe Ephesus is definitely worth a try.
Cafe E. is Turkish not Persian. The cuisines are similar but not the same. You’re comparing apples and oranges.
JEDDO KABOB OUTSHINES THE NOOR CAFE EASILY AND THEY TOO PRESENT PERSIAN FOOD. THE ENVIRONMENT IS NOT AS ELEGANT NOR AS WELL APPOINTED BUT SMALL COZY AND COMFORTABLE. THE RICE TRULY SAFFRON AND THE KEBOBS MARINATED AND MADE JUST IN BACK OF YOU………………NOOR STAFF HELPFUL AND EASY BUT JEDDO GETS MY VOTE………
I ate at Noora’s after reading rave reviews about the food… but the service was absolutely horrid! In talking to other guests that seemed to be the general consensus as well. One person said she’d been there 5 times and service was always slow and bad. The person that was waiting for carryout when we walked in (and waited at the door for 5 minutes) told us that they were slow but the food was amazing (which was the only reason we stuck around). While the food was good I can’t say it was worth the amount of time wasted and the lack of attention received by the staff… I would consider them for carryout in the future. I do intend to give them one more chance but only because as we were leaving the owner talked to us and he is a genuine and caring person, but his staff clearly does not share the same love and enthusiasm for the place.
The last time my young daughter and I ate there, we opted to sit on the floor. As we were waiting for our drinks, i noticed an ant crawling across my silverware. Brushed it away and looked to the other side of the table – and it was *swarming* with ants.
We called the server (who I think was also the owner) over, and he actually asked us – ASKED US…”Do you want to move?” as he removed the table cloth!!!!! Of course we said yes – and were seated at a table. I asked for a childs menu, and was startled to find out they didn’t have one. we were told that one of the rice dishes could be made for children. To me that means a *child’s* portion. No, it was the full $12.00 portion! I was happy with my food, but my daughter didn’t like hers at all. When the bill was delivered, there was no discount, no reduction for the “child” meal, and nothing further said about the ants. I will never eat there again.