This review was from my third visit to Chelokababi and I have successfully tried most if not all of their dishes and experienced the ambience and service across three visits.
Chelokababi is a well-reviewed sit down Persian place in Sunnyvale, right next to the roti place, Rajjot (I’ll review this place someday). We were a party of four with two kids in tow last night. The place was packed as usual as has been the case in every one of my trips. They do take reservations and on a weekend night, I would strongly recommend one for any party over 2.
Persian cuisine is an interesting experience for the vegetarian Indian. It has elements of flavored rice but the spice content is lower. On the curry’s and dishes side, there are lot more differences between the Persian flavors and their Indian counterparts. For more on Persian cuisine, head over to wikipedia.
Two of the guests consider Chelokababi as one of their favorite spots and knew their way around with the menu. My wife was making her first trip to the place and was taking in opinions on recommended dishes. The little guys were yapping away in the midst. Thanks to some much welcome complementary pita bread and butter (yep, for all the fanciness you dont get complementary hummus -1) and the obligatory iPhone, the boys were quickly silenced. We ordered a vegetarian platter with Kashko Bademjan (eggplant based curry), hummus, olives, falafel and a salad. I ordered a personal favorite- the Persian tea. A friend ordered their unique Dough, which is a yoghurt soda. The appetizer platter was well received (the salad untouched) and the tea hit all the right notes for me. The yoghurt soda was not as popular.
For the main course, we ordered some vegetarian soup, the Ash Reshteh and one of us wanted their salad (yep, there was a dieting fiend in our midst). I personally found the soup a little bland and while it had interesting elements to it, felt a tad dull. Would have liked a little more spice to it. My wife didnt enjoy the soup much either. The same blandness complaint. The salad was received well. The other orders for the main course included the Vegetarian Gheymeh, a gumbo like concoction that is part soup, part porridge. This was relatively well received. We also had the Zeresh Polo as a side order which was very good too.
We wrapped up with some delicious tasting yet a tad expensive baklava. It was a fun night peppered with good food and good company.
Ambience: 4/5. The interiors look nice with a Persian feel to it and not one of those canned looks in some Indian restaurants with the Rajah and semi-clad queens around him.
Service: 4/5. I would have rated it higher but for some interesting experience to note here. One of our friends had to request for warm water thrice before being served with a glass of one. This friend, also a reader of this blog told me that she expects to see me mention it in my post.
Food: 3.5/5. I liked most of my food but for the Ash Reshteh which was bland. My wife liked parts but not all her dishes.
Price: 3.5/5. Here is my beef. A restaurant that aspires to be premium needs to do a few things for the price. Either outstanding food or big value for money. Butter with pita bread does not help the cause. A $6 baklava doesnt help the cause either.
Overall: 3.5/5. It is not that Chelokababi is a bad place. Far from it, it is a place I have been to thrice and probably will go again. But given that there are obvious reasons for the lower rating, I had to highlight them to the reader. I still recommend visiting the place once to see if it works for you.