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SOFREH

BEST NEW BISTRO

SOFREH

SHORTLISTED BY BISTRONAUT #1

WHO
Nasim Alikhani is not your typical New York restaurateur. At 59, she finally realized her dream of opening a restaurant after a career doing unrelated jobs. You wouldn’t know it’s her first go-around by her exquisite and modern Persian cuisine at Sofreh, where she welcomes guests herself and oversees the kitchen’s output of tremendously flavorful dishes.

FOOD
Refreshing and savory Tahini & Date Salad with baby gem lettuce, medjool dates, radish, toasted sesame seeds and a tahini-honey dressing ($12)
The herb and beef Kofteh, with rice, split peas, assorted herbs, stuffed with prunes and walnuts and served in a saffron verjus broth before getting topped with crispy onions and garlic chips, is the stuff of dreams ($12).
Charred and smoked eggplant with slow-roasted tomato garlic sauce, poached eggs, house bread ($19)
The half duck “Fesenjan” is a braised leg and pan-roasted breast served with a sweet and savory pomegranate walnut sauce, perfect for dipping the bread in or sopping up with rice. ($45)
The three types of basmati rice – with saffron; with orange zest and carrot; or with kohlrabi and cabbage; are all excellent.
Or try the tahdig, a rice dish staple that comes two ways – one, with the crispy crust of pita cooked in oil at the bottom of the pot, and the other cooked with herbs and oil. ($5-8)
Sides of bread and strained yogurt are a must (or just pick the dishes that come with those components).
Carrot halva, Persian ice cream and other on-brand sweets for dessert. ($7-10)

DRINKS
Cocktails ($15) with Persian ingredients prick up the taste buds and pair nicely with the food, like the light and mild Saffron Vesper (gin, vodka, Lillet, saffron & rosewater tincture). Looking for non-alcs? You have interesting choices here, like sharbat, a traditional sparkling drink (either Mint & Cucumber or Sour Cherry, $7); a Savory sparkling yogurt drink; or Persian Black Tea infused with cardamom, rose and other spices ($5).
Bottles of wines are well priced but could be more inspiring.

DECOR
All black façade, all white inside, mostly subtle, almost verging on bland. Only if you look closely at the white-washed room will you notice details beyond the run-of-the-mill, such as a triptych of arched niches behind the bar or the decorative motif of Persian calligraphy running through the placemats, on a window glaze, etc.

NOISE
Blended into the restaurant din, we didn’t even notice a soundtrack. Conversations are moderate and the atmosphere was familial.

SEATING
Fabric-lined banquettes absorb a bit of noise and add a dash of elegance to the otherwise spartan seating. Poured concrete-style tables and graceful wooden chairs set a minimalist vibe. In nicer weather, a number of tables out front make for NYC sidewalk dining at its best – off of a busy street and thus, not too noisy.

VIBE
The tall ceiling makes for a light and lovely neighborhood joint. The airy feel with windows giving out onto the greenery out back make it feel a little bit like Venice, CA, while the vaguely Persian arches at the white-washed bar create a mod and slightly fancy backdrop if you’re getting drinks or are on a date.

RESTROOMS
Is this even the same restaurant? Inside, you’ll find a large utility sink more prevalent in dives in Williamsburg, and walls that are completely covered in pre-revolutionary Iranian movie posters. A contrast to the rest, and it’s nice to see a bit of whimsy shine through here.

SERVICE
It feels a bit more grown up at Sofreh, so we tipped accordingly (20% plus a bit).

WOULD RECOMMEND
Yes – for a more sophisticated dinner date, or when you need that fix of tahdig.

WHO
Nasim Alikhani is not your typical New York restaurateur. At 59, she finally realized her dream of opening a restaurant after a career doing unrelated jobs. You wouldn’t know it’s her first go-around by her exquisite and modern Persian cuisine at Sofreh, where she welcomes guests herself and oversees the kitchen’s output of tremendously flavorful dishes.

FOOD
Refreshing and savory Tahini & Date Salad with baby gem lettuce, medjool dates, radish, toasted sesame seeds and a tahini-honey dressing ($12)
The herb and beef Kofteh, with rice, split peas, assorted herbs, stuffed with prunes and walnuts and served in a saffron verjus broth before getting topped with crispy onions and garlic chips, is the stuff of dreams ($12).
Charred and smoked eggplant with slow-roasted tomato garlic sauce, poached eggs, house bread ($19)
The half duck “Fesenjan” is a braised leg and pan-roasted breast served with a sweet and savory pomegranate walnut sauce, perfect for dipping the bread in or sopping up with rice. ($45)
The three types of basmati rice – with saffron; with orange zest and carrot; or with kohlrabi and cabbage; are all excellent.
Or try the tahdig, a rice dish staple that comes two ways – one, with the crispy crust of pita cooked in oil at the bottom of the pot, and the other cooked with herbs and oil. ($5-8)
Sides of bread and strained yogurt are a must (or just pick the dishes that come with those components).
Carrot halva, Persian ice cream and other on-brand sweets for dessert. ($7-10)

DRINKS
Cocktails ($15) with Persian ingredients prick up the taste buds and pair nicely with the food, like the light and mild Saffron Vesper (gin, vodka, Lillet, saffron & rosewater tincture). Looking for non-alcs? You have interesting choices here, like sharbat, a traditional sparkling drink (either Mint & Cucumber or Sour Cherry, $7); a Savory sparkling yogurt drink; or Persian Black Tea infused with cardamom, rose and other spices ($5).
Bottles of wines are well priced but could be more inspiring.

DECOR
All black façade, all white inside, mostly subtle, almost verging on bland. Only if you look closely at the white-washed room will you notice details beyond the run-of-the-mill, such as a triptych of arched niches behind the bar or the decorative motif of Persian calligraphy running through the placemats, on a window glaze, etc.

NOISE
Blended into the restaurant din, we didn’t even notice a soundtrack. Conversations are moderate and the atmosphere was familial.

SEATING
Fabric-lined banquettes absorb a bit of noise and add a dash of elegance to the otherwise spartan seating. Poured concrete-style tables and graceful wooden chairs set a minimalist vibe. In nicer weather, a number of tables out front make for NYC sidewalk dining at its best – off of a busy street and thus, not too noisy.

VIBE
The tall ceiling makes for a light and lovely neighborhood joint. The airy feel with windows giving out onto the greenery out back make it feel a little bit like Venice, CA, while the vaguely Persian arches at the white-washed bar create a mod and slightly fancy backdrop if you’re getting drinks or are on a date.

RESTROOMS
Is this even the same restaurant? Inside, you’ll find a large utility sink more prevalent in dives in Williamsburg, and walls that are completely covered in pre-revolutionary Iranian movie posters. A contrast to the rest, and it’s nice to see a bit of whimsy shine through here.

SERVICE
It feels a bit more grown up at Sofreh, so we tipped accordingly (20% plus a bit).

WOULD RECOMMEND
Yes – for a more sophisticated dinner date, or when you need that fix of tahdig.

CHEF

Nasim Alikhani

OPENING HOURS

Closed on Mondays

RESERVATIONS

Reservations are required and can be made only online up to 6 weeks in advance.

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