There are many signs directing you to Taste of Persia, but it’s easy to get lost in a sargasso sea of fast-food stops, gas stations and chain coffee places. This is West Edmonton, more specifically, the area between 170th and 178th Street where you can lose yourself amongst the chicken specials, burger deals and gas rewards.
Connected to a hotel, where a pancake place used to be, is Taste of Persia. A bar area with showy tea services allows you, for a second, to imagine that you’re not in what was once just another family restaurant. There’s also a great aroma as you walk in, something floral and smoky at the same time.
Being attached to a hotel, Taste of Persia offers many tastes that aren’t Persian. Breakfast specials and burgers and the like. But, there are plenty of Persian specialties on offer, because really, that’s why we’re here, isn’t it?
To start I order some olives to start. But the Zeytoon Parvarde are green olives, dressed in a paste of walnut and pomegranate. It’s served with a spoon, and the pitted olives, with the dressing, hit you with salt, then sour, then sweet. They really get all of the taste buds working, which fires me up for the main course. And that’s the Gheymeh Bademjoon, which is beef, stewed with eggplant and split peas. I take the stew and spoon it over the unnecessarily massive serving of rice that I’ve been given. It’s the eggplant that’s the real star, here. There’s a smokiness to it, that you think shouldn’t be there — but it’s unmistakable. The tomato sauce is rich and the chunks of beef are soft. There are unmistakably sweet notes, as well. The dish isn’t spicy in the least, but, like the opener, there’s a real play on sweet-sour-salt.
Hopefully, the hotel guests skip the usual fare and go for the good stuff.