Maykadeh, Not War

North Beach's Persian outpost charms with calm and chelo

Yet another option is to order a khoresht (stew) or polo (pilaf), home-style one-dish meals. The best meat dish on the menu might be the khoresht ghorme sabzee, lamb shank and eggplant braised with tomato, saffron, and dried lime. Slow cooking softens the meat and blends the flavors until you can hardly tell which is which. In contrast, khoresht fesenjoon, chicken thighs in a sweet walnut-pomegranate sauce, tasted too much like peanut butter and jelly. The vinegary torshee came in handy to cut the cloying sweetness to a more balanced sweet-and-sour.

We cluelessly expected the Persian tea to be mint — nope, wrong country. In fact, it's very similar to English tea. The server said the baklava would go well with it, and it does. Small bites of the dense, sweet pastry, packed with ground pistachios, sopping with honey, and aromatic with rosewater are delightful alternated with sips of hot, astringent tea. The bastani, a similarly aromatic housemade saffron-pistachio-rose ice cream, tasted better before I placed the familiar aroma as grandma's cold cream.

The wine list could use some work. It's mostly well-known California producers, and outside of one California sparking wine and an Argentine red, none seemed likely to go well with the food. Given that almost every dish has a tart element (lemon, lime, dried lime, vinegar, yogurt, pickles, pomegranate, kashk), it's a shame that the list doesn't focus on European wines such as Txacolis and Chinons that pair better with such dishes. In the meantime, I recommend bringing your own and paying the corkage.

Signs of a more civilized society.
James Sanders
Signs of a more civilized society.

Location Info

Map

Maykadeh

470 Green
San Francisco, CA 94133

Category: Restaurant > Iranian

Region: North Beach/ Chinatown

Details

Maykadeh, 470 Green (between Grant & Kearny), 362-8286, www.maykadehrestaurant.com. Open Monday through Thursday 11:45 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:45 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and Sunday 11:45 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.. Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: valet, $8. Muni: 12, 15, 30, 41, 45. Noise level: low.

Maykadeh Sabzee panir refills $5

Eggplant dip $7.50

Crispy rice (tah dig) $7.50

Lamb tongue $11

Ground meat chelo-kebab $6 appetizer

$12.50 entree

Braised lamb shank and eggplant $15

Desserts $5

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Maykadeh's furnishings, service, and atmosphere are surprisingly nice for a restaurant in its price range — mostly appetizers under $10, and entrees under $20. That, and food like Mom used to make, explains why on weekend nights the place is often packed with large groups of Persians from all over the Bay Area.

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