Those looking for an elegant Persian steakhouse can enjoy, as Aria Steakhouse has officially opened in downtown Palo Alto.
Executive Chef and Owner Mike Hashmi unveiled the third location for Arya Steakhouse on August 9, after opening restaurants in Cupertino and in Redwood City. The steakhouse revolves around Persian culture and history. Since the grand opening, the restaurant has been bustling, with wait times anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes Sunday through Thursday and about 90 minutes on Friday and Saturday, according to restaurant staff.
The dimly lit restaurant space is designed around antique architecture, including stone pillars and wooden furniture with overhead lights and faux candles on each table. The overall atmosphere is relaxed although the restaurant is full of chatter.
Al Hashemi designed the menu based on traditional Persian cuisine.
“We have very traditional dishes like ‘Fesenjoon,’ which is a pomegranate and walnut stew with chicken,” Al Hashemi told The Paly Voice last month when we stopped to explore the new space. “It’s a very earthy and fresh dish.”
Two reporters from The Voice sat down and tried five dishes: sambuza, rice steak, Arya burger, braised lamb leg, and creamy gnocchi. This is what we found:
samosa – $14
The first appetizer was the samosa, which is an authentic Middle Eastern fried pastry stuffed with potatoes and herbs on the inside. On the side was a creamy beige sauce with lemon flavour.
The outside of the samosa was a crunchy bundle of flavor that contained golden yellow mashed potatoes and fresh green herbs. When we get into the samosas, the oily shell breaks down, and the smooth filling melts in our mouths. The dish was topped with some lettuce, tomato and cheese on the side. Overall, the samosa for appetizer was nice, and the quick service speed made it even better.
steak tartar – $23
Another appetizer we ordered was tartare steak, which consisted of minced raw fish fillet, capers, onions, and three pieces of golden brown crunchy cheese bread. The tartar was smooth and flavorful, complete with a bit of sweetness from the egg yolks and a strong cheesy flavor from the bread.
There was a general sense of calm when ingesting the lime. When eaten with cheese bread, the tartar made a wonderful blend of flavours.
Presentation was beautiful, consisting of a bowl-shaped plate of glossy steaks dipped in dark pomegranate sauce. Tartare is also ideal for sharing due to its large serving and is a perfect dish that many people enjoy.
Arya Burger – $24
The first dish we tried was the Arya Burger, which was served with fries. This half-pound burger patty was cooked to a perfect rare medium; The pie was dark brown with grill stripes on the outside and pink on the inside. The burger and fries were well cooked with a little creamy red ketchup on the side. According to the menu there was pesto sauce on the burger, although we couldn’t taste anything.
The burger also contains a good amount of frizzy, tomatoes and grilled onions. Although the frizzi was too bitter for us, its crunch complemented the softness of the pie and cake. The grilled onions were sweet at first but left a charred aftertaste. All in all, the burger was a great meal well worth appreciating for one person.
Slow cooked lamb – $29
Next, the lamb was braised as braised, served with Baghali pollo, an Iranian rice dish of rice, beans and dill. The dish contained a large leg of lamb It was cooked until the meat fell off the bone, and its texture was soft and smooth.
Sometimes the lamb was too salty, especially the lamb broth. It tasted like one of the most delicious lamb shanks we’ve ever eaten. However, Bagali Polo tasted like bitter coconut water with the texture of rice, an acquired taste.
Gnocchi – $24
The last and lowest point of the meal was the creamy gnocchi made of potato gnocchi and cream sauce. Although the high price raised our expectations, the dish was ordinary and not worth the cost.
Although the gnocchi had a soft, smooth texture and a subtle bacon flavor in cream, the fact that it tasted like fancy macaroni and cheese wasn’t enough to justify the $24 spent. On the plus side, the serving size of the gnocchi was perfect for sharing.
We had a great experience at Arya Steakhouse. Excellent service combined with a pleasant general flair set a high standard for the future of the steakhouse.
140 University Ave. Palo Alto CA, 94301
11:30 AM – 2:30 PM, 5-10 PM Monday – Friday
11:30 AM – 10 PM from Saturday to Sunday