If you have eaten at Sofreh, the 4-yr-outdated Persian cafe in a Brooklyn brownstone, odds are you know its mast-o musir, a yogurt dip. The initial factors you see are chips of dried musir, the Iranian wild shallot, prized for its courtly but distinctive whiff of garlic. Underneath this is a mattress of musir-enriched yogurt. It has a richness that puts you in thoughts of custard and a bitter streak that would make your mouth h2o.
Just one of the primary cooks at Sofreh, Ali Saboor, recently opened his personal Persian restaurant in Brooklyn. Its identify is Eyval, its neighborhood is Bushwick and its yogurt is even extra delectable.
Eyval has its individual spin on mast-o musir, topped with some pickled musir in a spicy pool of turmeric oil. But the restaurant’s bigger contribution toward advancing the trigger of yogurt in New York Town lies in Mr. Saboor’s reconsideration of yet another yogurt dip, or class of dips, called the borani.
A regular borani involves folding cooked eggplant or another vegetable into strained yogurt. The vegetables in Eyval’s boranis are likely to be some seasonal take care of, like grilled fiddleheads in brown butter or compact, spring-green fava beans slicked with mint oil, and they are not blended into the yogurt. They rest on top rated of it, in a minor hollow, like the pothole I make in my mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving so the gravy will have someplace to go.
Concentrating the greens in the center usually means that any supplied swipe of bread into the borani will dredge up a honest amount of pure, undiluted yogurt, which can be appreciated on its have conditions. I have liked numerous yogurt dips in my daily life, but the boranis at Eyval could be the first yogurt dips towards which I’ve felt something like motivation.
I mention this not just since I hope you will test a borani at Eyval, but also due to the fact it illustrates some of the means Mr. Saboor has expanded on the Persian themes he very first explored at Sofreh.
There, he begun by assisting Nasim Alikhani, an owner, adapt the stews, fragrant platters of basmati rice and other recipes that experienced produced invites to her dwelling considerably sought immediately after by pals. He experienced cooked in dining places she hadn’t. At Eyval, which opened in March with economic backing from Theodore Petroulas, Ms. Alikhani’s partner and her companion in Sofreh, Mr. Saboor turns his attention from the house to the streets, specifically the grilled kebabs eaten throughout Iran.
A abide by-up restaurant centered on road meals could propose a less difficult menu, easier recipes, a lot more constrained flavors. None of that applies at Eyval. The portions are usually smaller a one skewer would make a serving. But behind each plate is an being familiar with of the strategies Persian substances like black lime and barberries develop little detonations of taste, as well as a absolutely sure sense of when a few drops of rosewater will cast the ideal spell and when the large-pitched sourness of unripe grapes is just the detail.
Eyval’s rooster kebab is no mere stick of meat. It is a reimagining of zereshk polo morgh, the trusted mixture of basmati rice, stewed chicken and barberries that has pacified hungry company at many Persian dinner functions. The grill puts crisp golden skin on the chicken, and the scent of smoke. On leading are the fried onions and tart minimal dried barberries, and underneath is a chicken-tomato broth, fragrant with saffron. All the right factors are there, down to the individual plate of rice, but they occur alongside one another in new approaches.
The koobideh, on the other hand, is undeniably a adhere of meat. But what meat it is. Mr. Saboor grinds lamb shoulder and beef brisket, a fatty reduce quite a few chefs depend on to make a self-basting burger. Minimally seasoned, it makes an unusually tender, pretty much fragile kebab.
Then there is the mushroom kebab. It is not meat, nor is it served on a adhere, but it might be the most exciting factor on the menu. King trumpet mushrooms are grilled until they are as caramelized and juicy as sea scallops. They are paired with pickled beech mushrooms, and each are tied collectively by a creamy stew of beluga lentils. From these extensively earthy things, Mr. Saboor has designed a thing classy.
The placing is a graffiti-scrawled corner building up coming to a classic apparel store. Experiencing the restaurant, throughout a parking good deal, is Roberta’s, which to start with introduced this brand of dynamic, ingredient-conscious tiny plates to the space. Right until final thirty day period, the Eyval people today ran a Persian teahouse future doorway, Sofreh Cafe, where by quite high-quality baked products these as glazed pirashki loaded with rosewater custard would materialize all over the day.
Some of these items survived the cafe. On specific nights a food at Eyval could get started with a smaller loaf of komaj, vaguely sweet and dotted with cumin seeds. There is pretty much often barbari, the vital Persian flatbread, a lengthy, grooved oval with sesame and nigella seeds embedded in its crackling crust. Among other factors, barbari is an ideal implement for scooping up yogurt.
The kitchen, structured all-around two charcoal-burning grills, sits between Eyval’s two eating rooms like a hinge. 1 space has a cocktail bar, and the other has a blank wall on which an outdated concert by the exiled Iranian pop star Googoosh is ordinarily currently being projected. Both rooms are protected in subway tiles and can be numbingly loud when entire, which they typically are. And, like numerous places to eat now, Eyval from time to time falls quick of its assistance ambitions, so your knowledge at the desk could not come up to the specifications set by the cooking crew.
Its achievements go over and above kebabs. There are hunks of Persian cucumber, sticky with day molasses that retains a thick, smoky coating of Urfa pepper flakes. Watermelon and feta salad, a strike at Sofreh, is tart and citrusy under a fine powder of dried lime. In potato tahdig, tender saffron rice lies beneath a slim, crisp, golden rectangle of sliced potatoes to sort a sort of upside-down tart of starch layered on starch.
Whilst Eyval emphasizes crisp, crunchy and immediately cooked elements, it does have a few of braises that are between the most traditional things on the menu. There is ghormeh sabzi, chopped herbs and greens simmered with fenugreek into a darkish, tangy pulp and served with a formidable veal shank, lower across the bone as if for osso buco. Gheymeh bademjan, lamb stewed with spices in tomatoes soured with unripe grapes, is garnished with an total grilled eggplant and a heaping fistful of French fries. Normally, this comes with rice.
I just cannot be the only one who is hoping that the dessert menu will grow to contain some of the best hits from Sofreh Cafe. Right until then, there is a yogurt pudding perfumed with rosewater and, a lot more alluringly, a thick slab of saffron ice cream sandwiched among two raisin cookies.