A new restaurant serving Persian and Mediterranean cuisine quietly opened in Georgetown in late November. Called Noosh, the name is derived from the Persion phrase for “bon appetit,” shortened down to one syllable.
Partners Atoussa Ardalan and chef Tarek Diab opened Noosh and previously ran Casbah Cafe in the same location for 15 years. But due to pandemic troubles (their main clientele was university students, who weren’t in town while schools were closed), they decided to close and start fresh. They also operate the neighboring 280 Eatery, a fast-casual spot serving American comfort food that opened in September.
When it came to developing the menu for Noosh, Diab has been very particular. He, along with members of both his and Ardalan’s families, spent over four months working on recipes. The hardest part is sourcing the authentic, speciality products like quality saffron, small pistachios, and gourmet eggplant. Prices have gone up due to supply chain issues and distributors often don’t have the right items, so Diab goes to great lengths to find what he needs.
“We go to a lot of different markets to collect our ingredients up to our standard because we cannot substitute anything in our recipe to something else,” Diab says.
This means the menu may change frequently, getting updates to match what ingredients Diab is able to source.
The menu is broken into Persian and Mediterranean entree sections, plus apps, salads, sides, sandwiches, and desserts. On the Mediterranean side, choose between a variety of chicken and lamb dishes, or order the falafel plate.
Persian menu staples include five types of kabob (chicken, ground beef, sirloin, salmon, and shrimp), three meaty stews, and four specialty basmati saffron rice dishes. Try the ghormeh sabzi stew, which pairs chunks of simmered sirloin with herbs, lemon, and red beans, or the albaloo polo rice dish, served with sour cherries, crispy onions, and almonds mixed in.
The owners had previously considered adding Persian to Casbah Cafe’s menu, but the pandemic finally allowed them time to put a plan in place.
“We are part of the Persian community, and we know that good quality, fresh, and authentic Persian food is very welcome,” Diab says. “There aren’t many places where you can find what we offer, and that’s why we wanted to bring the spotlight to Persian cuisine as well.”
Only a glass door separates 280 Eatery and Noosh, so Ardalan and Diab made sure the upgraded interior set the tone for their new restaurant, which is more upscale than the eatery. The walls are a cool gray, allowing the vibrant yellow seating to pop.
“We’re trying to do as much as we can—not too much, not too little—in the small space that we have here,” Ardalan says.
Noosh is open from 11 AM to 10 PM Tuesday through Thursday, from 11 AM to 11 PM on Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 9 PM on Sunday.
Noosh. 1721 Wisconsin Ave., NW.