Wednesday night, I met up with a lovely group of bloggers, some new to me and some I’ve known for a while, at Moby Dick, a Persian restaurant near Symphony in Boston. This dinner was spearheaded by Joe. Joe discovered Moby Dick a few years ago and quickly became a regular, trying out all that the restaurant had to offer and getting to know the owner, Moti. Throughout the dinner, Moti was kind and welcoming, and Joe was quick to let us know that she shows this level of warmth to all of her customers, be they regulars or first-timers.
To start, we had a platter of assorted appetizers that included mirza ghasemi – sautéed eggplant, tomatoes, onions, and garlic; hummus; shirazi salad- diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions with dried mint; stuffed grape leaves; and falafel. The falafel was soft and did not taste as deep fried as falafel often is. My favorites were the hummus, smooth and rich, with the shirazi salad, all scooped up with some thin pita. We also enjoyed the Greek salad, pictured at top, with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, feta cheese and their creamy house dressing. The feta was soft, not crumbly, and the dressing was quite remarkable. Creamy and rich, it was luxurious against the crisp lettuce and cucumber.
I could quite happily make a dinner out of those appetizers but there was much more to come. Moti brought out a large platter of grilled chicken, beef and lamb with onions.
This was followed by vegetarian adas polo- basmati rice sauteed with lentils, raisins, onions and spices. Lentils and rice are a wonderful combination of tastes and textures. The mixture was fragrant and rich with warm spices and sweet raisins.
The lubia polo, basmati rice with string beans, tomato and saffron, had a good bit of heat to it. The softened string beans added a nice, almost meaty texture to the rice. I loved each of the rice dishes on their own but it turned out they were even better together. The fragrant sweetness of the first was just the right amount to temper the heat of the second. Not pictured, was another rice dish, shirrin polo– basmati rice with orange peel, mountain berries, pistachios, almonds, and saffron.
As if we weren’t already more than sated, Moti brought us dishes of homemade Persian ice cream called bastani, flavored with rosewater and saffron. I’m not usually a fan of rosewater but, the creamy base and the rich saffron flavor were enough to soften the intense floral flavor of the rosewater and I actually quite liked it. The ice cream was topped with chopped pistachios, which made for a visually stunning mix of color.
And lastly, some massive pieces of baklava. A huge thank you first to Joe for bringing to my attention this hidden gem. I am almost never in the Symphony neighborhood so I’m almost certain I never would have stumbled on Moby Dick on my own. And of course thank you to Moti at Moby Dick. Moby Dick has been open since the 1980s. It may not be widely known, but it has itself a loyal clientele because they know how to keep diners coming back. The food, first and foremost, is excellent (rumor has it she purchases all of her ingredients from nearby Whole Foods), with flavors you won’t find many other places in Boston. Though the space may not be fancy, it is extremely clean, always a welcome attribute. If you’ve never tried Persian food, Moby Dick provides a winning introduction.
269 Huntington Ave