No-frills Shiraz serves up fresh, delicious dishes
Counter-order dining takes on a new meaning when you venture into Shiraz Persian Grill, 2921 N. Oakland Ave. Plastic trays and plates never had it better.
Shiraz's small, storefront façade, located just north of the intersection of Oakland and Locust Street, is a little hard to find unless you're looking for it. Once inside, you'll wonder how you never found this place before.
The immaculate, deli-style case carries all things Persian, several kinds of rices or polos (raisin rice with saffron, dill rice, white rice), popular Mediterranean dishes like hummus ($2.49 for small, $3.29 for large), baba ganoush ($2.89, $3.69), tabouleh ($2.89, $3.69) soups, salads, and other selections with traditional Persian spices, fresh herbs, saffrons, feta cheese and yogurt sauces.
Entrées are served with a side plate of fresh parsley sprigs, crumbled feta cheese, paper-thin slices of radish and your choice of white or wheat toasted pita points.
Think fresh herbs (mint, saffron dill), well-seasoned meats (chicken, beef, and lamb) and vibrant vegetables in salads, grilled, or mixed into spreads, served with heaping fresh rice and you're well on your way to a delightful meal at Shiraz.
Aside from wine glasses, flatware and entrée plates for dining in, everything at Shiraz is served casually on disposable plates. For $6.99, you can sample six items from the case, which we chose as an appetizer selection.
Baba ganoush and hummus were both creamy and garnished with paprika, olives and pickled turnips. The tabouleh was rife with mint, cracked wheat, and cucumber for a refreshing and salient dish, and we loved both golden raisin rice and the crunch of the outside of Shiraz's falafel.
A meal of Lari Lamb ($13.49) brought savory lamb marinated in yogurt for tender and well-seasoned results, served with a heaping plate of perfectly steamed basmati rice, grilled tomatoes and onions. Chicken shish kabob ($8.59) plated equally tender grilled chicken chunks with grilled vegetables and another healthy helping of rice.
Perhaps our favorite dish, the beef sultani ($15.49) was a combination of barq, tenderloin marinated in lime juice, onions, saffron and other spices, and beef koobideh, beef kabobs made of ground beef sausage-like chunks with onions and spices. We ordered this dish with the dill rice, which added a clean contrast to the heavy spice of the beef.
There's something almost charming about the cafeteria-like setting for Shiraz, and we happily enjoyed $4 merlots while eating off disposable plates and watching the constant carryout traffic coming in and out.
On a cold winter night, I'll likely swing back for carryout and perhaps to sample one of their khoresh, or stews, which come in meat, lentil or vegetable varieties and make the entire, tiny restaurant heavy with aromatic scents which simply beckon you back to the case to sample more.
Fantastic place! Make sure you try the veal shanks, they are stupendous. The best meal value in Milwaukee. I have brought many people here and they have never been disappointed.
Believe it or not, the French fries are top-notch!
RJ | Dec. 22, 2008 at 11:31 p.m. (report)
I've been here several times and like it as lot. The food is very good--not as good and exquisite as made-to-order food at a full-service place, but very good nonetheless. The cabbage rice is delicious, as is the lamb stew, the falafel, and other items. I'm still hoping that this or another restaurant will someday offer Chicken or Duck Fesanjan (my favorite Persian dish), but still, Shiraz is a bright spot in a group of very good Middle Eastern restaurants in the area.
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