The hits just keep coming in for Nasim Alikhani, the owner of sleek Persian restaurant Sofreh. Following a one-star review from Eater’s Ryan Sutton and two-star review from New York magazine just yesterday, the Times’ Pete Wells dishes out another two stars for the homey fare at the Prospect Heights newcomer.
Sofreh popped on to the dining scene in June, building a super-sleek white-bricked space at 75 St. Marks Ave. at Flatbush Avenue. It’s Alikhani’s first restaurant; her entrance into food prior to this was catering.
Like the other critics, Wells notes that restaurants serving food from Iran are relatively rare in New York, and thankfully, it delivers on the quality of dishes, which Alikhani models “after the things she might make when company comes over.” He highlights bread, the smoked eggplant, fish, and other dishes:
For a dish called “catch of the day,” Ms. Alikhani has adapted ghalieh mahi, a tamarind-soured stew of fish and fresh herbs from southern Iran. In her version, a pan-seared hunk of whitefish — halibut and cod have taken turns in the role — is set over a long-cooked sauce. Dark with caramelized onions and fried cilantro and fresh fenugreek leaves, the sauce is hypnotically complex. Still, a sauce sitting under fish is not the same as one that has been cooked with fish so the flavors can get acquainted.
A simple flattened and griddled half chicken, though, is a wonderful foil for a topping of tart barberries and a captivating sauce of dried Persian plums and saffron. And there’s lovely simplicity to the braised lamb shank with roasted garlic and sizzled onions; the turmeric- and cinnamon-scented sauce might have been put on this earth to be spooned over fluffy rice.
Dessert, too, is worthwhile, he writes, such as the rose-water custard and the saffron and rose-water ice cream. It’s a downright glowing review, but in the notes section at the bottom, there’s a slight downside: “Service is welcoming and helpful early on, sometimes prone to inattentiveness later.” Two stars.