Pros: Bread came quickly, high chairs, Midtown east might be an easier place to park in Manhattan than many other places (try 62-64th streets, between York and 2nd for street parking, but otherwise a few garages nearby). It was also fairly noisy, so a loud toddler would not be too much of a bother.
Cons: No changing table, no kids menu, glass cups even for the kids
Notes: Open every day from 11:00AM until 10:30PM.
For dinner, we headed over to Midtown East to Ravagh Persian Grill. We arrived early, around 6 pm, so getting into the restaurant was not an issue without reservation, even though it was a Saturday. Mommy asked for a high chair and that arrived very quickly. We sat down and got a menu that was divided into several sections, including appetizers, salads, soups, kebabs, stews, and seafood. While looking around, we realized that we were not the only toddlers in the restaurant (and definitely not the only kids). Nobody was phased by the lack of a kids’ menu, as there were plenty of kid-friendly options on the regular menu. The first kid-friendly selection arrived the moment we placed our order – bread! This wasn’t the typical baguette, but more of a lavash (long pita) style bread, which came very warm and with two sauces: the first, the waitress told us, had cilantro, parsley, dill, olive oil, jalapeños, and many other greens. It was a bit spicy for us, but mommy loved it! The second sauce was a yogurt sauce, and we loved dipping our bread into it (and looking around, we saw that kids at other tables were doing the same). So, having something to much on while we waited for our food was a huge plus!
Mommy ordered two appetizers for us to try. One was called traditional kashk-bademjan – sautéed eggplant with onions on top, which tasted a bit garlicky. We also used our bread to dip in that. The second was kotlet – ground beef and potato patties, pan fried. If we didn’t know better, they look like chicken nuggets or corn bread that had been in the oven a few minutes too long. But we loved them! And we dipped them in the yogurt sauce. Mommy and daddy ate most of the eggplanty-garlicy dip. The waitress even brought them more bread to enjoy it with!
As for entrees – we really liked the idea of eating a whole fish, and just seeing the entire fish on a plate is exciting to us! So when daddy told us a whole branzino was on the menu, that was a no brainer (daddy knows he has to clean all the little bones out for us, and it will take him forever to eat his own food as we eat this!). We also got a stew – khoresh gheymeh – with yellow peas (which seemed like lentils). It was yummy, but there was something spicy in there. Lastly, we got a lamb kebab – imagine tons of chunks of meat grilled! We liked the stew over the rice, and mommy and daddy ate up most of the lamb. Everything came with rice, in HUGE portions, but you can substitute out the rice for grilled veggies or French fries. We chose grilled veggies and got some zucchini, onions, and tomatoes among other yummy veggies. Overall, our favorites were the kotlets, the whole fish, and the rice. Oh, and the bread of course!! We could live just on bread it was so good!
Since we did such a nice job with our dinner (and dinner was early), mommy let us help pick desserts. There were many to choose from. Some sounded more familiar like the desserts we are used to (chocolate cake), and others more Persian-style, and we chose to be adventurous (especially since one of them was described as donuts, and what toddler doesn’t like donuts?!). So we got the Zoolbia Balbieh, which are Persian donuts with saffron and rose water. They were fairly small, and there was a bunch on the plate. They also came on something that was sweet and sticky. They smelled like rose. Cool! We also got the faloodeh. This one is harder to describe, but it sounded so cool! It was thin vermicelli rice noodles that were frozen, mixed with sugar and rose water, and served with a cherry sauce on the side with actual cherries in it (think of it as a good jam). Ok, we admit, it does sound a bit weird. And it was a bit sweet. But SO yum! What a great way to end the meal! Daddy said the Turkish coffee was very good as well.
What a cool, non-touristy, cultural experience.