Welcome to the Northern Virginia Restaurant Blog.

Restaurant reviews in Tyson's and surrounding area... mostly

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Shamshiry Restaurant - Persian Food - Vienna, VA

8607 Westwood Center Drive
Vienna, Virginia 22182

(703) 448-8883

We stumbled into Shamshiry almost by accident.  Our destination was iThai (previously reviewed); however, Shamshiry sat appetizingly next door across the lobby from what was once a circus headquarters (really - more on that later).  Shamshiry is one of several exciting dining establishments in hub of office buildings off of Westwood Center Drive near the octagon-shaped Sheraton Hotel off Leesburg Pike in Vienna. 

We’ve never had the opportunity to dine in Tehran or Baghdad, but if we did we imagine it would be pretty close to Shamshiry.   The dining room filled with those perceived to be Persian clued us in that this is authentic and traditional Persian cuisine.  We started our Persian venture with a Shirazi salad.  The artistic menu (read it on their website) noted:  “There is an Old Persian saying that it takes four people to prepare a salad: A generous man to add the oil, a stingy man to add the vinegar, a wise man to give the right touch of salt and pepper, and a fool to mix it well.”  The salad was not your traditional lettuce, onion, tomato, and ranch dressing variety, as some exotic greens mixed helped round out the starter. 

We enjoyed the Chelo Kabob Barg – a charcoal fired skewer of Filet Mignon medallions. The filet was served with saffron rice and homemade flat bread.  A small container of sumac which is a middle-eastern spice resembling a brown powder added a nice exotic flavor.   We also had the Chicken Tandoori, which was very good.

After seeing a milky beverage being served to some diners at the next table, we had to ask the server what was being served.  She explained but also offered us a taste of the beverage.  She brought us a small serving of this cold white beverage called Doogh.  The menu explains:  “This delightfully refreshing yogurt drink is very popular in Persia. It is always on hand at home to serve to family and guests. OK, it was not for us, but well worth the sample.

From Shamshiry’s website, a poem by Omar Khayyam which sums up our experience (especially being seated with a heart’s darling):

"If one may have a loaf of the flower of wheat, a two-
Maund jar of wine*, a thigh of mutton, seated with
A heart's darling in a ruined place - that is a pleasure
That is not the attainment of any Sultan."

* Often Doogh (the milky-white beverage we tasted) street vendors advertise their wares by replacing the “jar of wine” with a “jar of Doogh.”

As mentioned earlier regarding the circus’ headquarters.  It’s a shame they’ve moved out, but this office building was once home to the northeastern Headquarters for Feld Brothers Entertainment, the group that brings Ringling Bros and Barnum Bailey Circus from town to town.  They’re floor-to-ceiling murals of clowns, trapeze artists, tigers, big tops, horses, etc was so much fun to gaze at through the large glass windows.

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