Cheap Eats 2011: Shamshiry

The dining room is spartan and the flatbread arrives in a plastic baggie, but the soul of this Persian mainstay shines through in the well-prepared kebabs and rice dishes. Appetizers trend toward the simple, such as a slab of goat cheese adorned only with radishes and basil stalks or a cucumber salad with a sprinkle of parsley. The stars of the menu are the generous entrées, particularly a spicy, cilantro-rubbed chicken tandoori kebab. The filet mignon kebab was dry, but the juicy ground-beef chelo kebab kubideh impressed with its comforting, meatloaf-like flavors. For an additional $3.50, you can substitute the plain rice that comes with any meat dish with heaps of fruit-and-nut-studded vegetarian rice. Desserts are mostly disappointing, but a pot of Persian tea makes for a fragrant ending.

Also good: Rice with sour cherries; rice with candied orange peel and pistachios; bone-in Cornish-hen kebabs; salmon kebab.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.