You may have noticed that kabob restaurants are popping up all over the place these days. Shiraz Restaurant has been making these tasty meat treats in San Ramon since 2004.
If you are going to check out this Persian restaurant, you definitely will want to start with an appetizer. It has Mast-o-Khiyar, which is a tangy yogurt-based dip made with cucumbers, mint and salt. Mast-o-Museer also is yogurt based but made with shallots. Another great choice is hummus — mashed chickpeas, tahini sauce, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. What is not to love about that?
Lavash bread is used for dipping. This bread is similar to a pita but very thin, perfect for getting lots of dip on every piece.
The kabobs are the stars at Shiraz. The most popular are the Koobideh, a juicy skewer with ground beef mixed with grated onions, salt, pepper and saffron; and the chicken kabob, which is big pieces of chicken marinated in lemon juice, saffron and spices. All the meats are cooked over an open flame so they are very flavorful. They have veggie kabobs, combinations of proteins, plus other meats such as rib eye, filet and lamb chops.
Each plate is paired with basmati rice mixed with a little saffron or seasoned salad (greens mixed with some fruit and house dressing), or you can choose half and half. If you want your rice a little fancier, you might want to go for the Z-rice, which mixes the basmati with currant berries, cranberries and grated carrots. You also get a grilled whole tomato, which is surprisingly tasty, and a special rectangle of rice called tahdig. This rice is made in a pot with a piece of lavash bread placed in the bottom and the rice is cooked much longer, making the dish crunchy and tasty.
The dinner prices for kabob entrees range from $9.99 for the veggie kabob to $11.99 for the Koobideh kabob to $19.99 for the lamb chop kabob. The restaurant also offers "Shiraz to Share," a combination of kabobs priced for two ($33.99) to four ($64.99) people. Kabobs for kids younger than 10 are $6.99. Shiraz lunch specials are served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily at prices from $7.99 for a Koobideh kabob to $11.99 for a chicken kabob with Z-rice.
Shiraz also has a great selection of desserts. You might want to save room for some baklava or something chocolatey. Food can be prepared to go and there are catering-style trays. When the weather is nice, there's an outdoor patio for dining as well as for private events.
Shiraz Restaurant is at 21314 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon. 925-829-5558. Sun - Thurs, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Fri - Sat 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.