Persian in St. Louis

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    Café Natasha's Kabob International
    Husband-and-wife co-owners Behshid and Hamish Bahrami serve traditional Persian cuisine in this cozy South Grand establishment. It's elegant food: no pretensions, just pure flavors - and a great value as well. Whet your appetite with kashke-bademjune, a mash of eggplant, chickpeas and spices; or osh, a hearty lentil soup. But be sure to leave room for the wide selection of savory stews and grilled meats. Barreh polo, a tremendous shank of lamb, and fessenjoon, boneless chicken breast stewed in a pomegranate-and-walnut sauce, are standouts. Feeling adventurous? Try the tongue, tender slices of beef swimming in a sumptuous golden broth. You might never want a boring old hunk of sirloin again.
    Kabob Palace
    The cover of the June 1985 National Geographic featured the now famous portrait of Sharbat Gula, "the Afghan Mona Lisa." Though her identity was not known at the time, she instantly became one of the most famous Afghan women. Her portrait on the wall at Kabob Palace on Manchester Road in Ballwin is a reminder that this is an Afghan restaurant, currently the only in Missouri, and that its proprietors take pride in that heritage. The understated Middle Eastern décor and elegant dining room set an overall comfortable atmosphere. The menu includes familiar Persian dishes, including sambosas filled with potatoes and scallions or byriani served with vegetables, chicken or shrimp, stir-fried and served with bread and chutney. Other Afghan dishes include Afghani muntoo - pockets stuffed with ground beef and onions and topped with seasoned beef and lintels - or qabelli palau - lamb or chicken with rice cooked in lamb stock with raisins and carrots. Kabob Palace also features a wide selection of kebabs, such as Kabob Palace kobedah beef kebabs served with grilled tomatoes or Afghani chapli kebabs - spicy hamburger patties served with rice, salad and naan. Kabob Palace is also available for catering and private parties.

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