Your plug for Persian food in San Jose
by Alexander Quebec
2019 is off to a great start for me; I’ve been feeling the need to broaden my culinary horizons and to take in all that the Bay Area has to offer. It’s a shame to live here and not to take advantage of what’s out there. With that in mind, I decided that it was time to get out there and do what I do best: eat like it’s going out of style.
I had a tip from a few friends of mine to check out Yegahneh in San Jose, a Persian restaurant offering Persian cuisine as well as coffeehouse treats and smoothies. This was a perfect time to answer the question that had been lingering in my mind for years, what is Persian food?
For your crash course, it’s the food from the place we call Iran (and the surrounding areas to). Persian food has had a lot of time to develop into what we see today, as it’s been around for thousands of years. Being in the middle of the Silk Road has also meant influences from a lot of other cultures from both sides of the continent.
Looking at the menu, you see a few commonalities amongst the entrees offered. Mainly, you will see that rice and meat is a typical combination, consisting mostly of beef, lamb and chicken. Another commonality, especially amongst the desserts and sweets, is the use of almonds and dates in many of their dishes. It’s interesting to note that both originally came from the Middle East, even more interesting is that California just so happens to be the top producing state for both crops.
On my first visit for lunch, I sat down next to the Insta-worthy wall containing inspiring quotations popular as memes on Facebook. The teal and white wall is hard to miss, and on one of my visits, I spotted several guests taking photos in front of it too. Of course, when lunch came through, all eyes were on the food.
The main item that stood out on my lunch visit was the Soiss Tandoori sandwich. What got my attention was the two food groups I can’t live without: meat and cheese. Wrapped inside a baguette are a beef sausage and mozzarella cheese, as well as your usual American sandwich accoutrements. I wanted to order with the sangak (a type of whole wheat, unleavened flatbread) but due to its popularity that day, I was only able to get it in the baguette.
On my 2nd visit for breakfast, I gave the Nargesi a try. It is a delight for those looking for a low carb option: sauteed spinach with garlic and three poached eggs. The garlic was chopped more than diced, but was sauteed perfectly, and wasn’t bitter, the spinach was cooked soft enough for me to go to town on without feeling like a cow chewing on cud. A little salt and pepper on the eggs and I was set.
I also ordered the Persian Plate: it comes with Honey, Cherry preserves and sliced banana as well as something that resembles a thick, yet soft tasting cream cheese. I was also given some slices of flatbread to eat with it, and it was amazing. I spread a bit of cream on the bread, then top it with one of the sweet toppings. If you wanted something sweet for breakfast, but off the beaten path from pancakes and waffles, this is your new go to. Some may or may not be turned off to the DIY approach, but in this writer’s opinion, that’s always the fun part.
In both visits, I had to have a glass of mint tea, which for me was a great digestif for the meal (and I have science to back up my claim…somewhere).
While enjoying both of my meals, I took in the ambience of the place, the murmuring of the expats amongst the crowd of locals mixed in a pleasant din, the kind of sound that only a place popular with the community makes. It was a bit comforting to be here, someone new in town, and I felt like I could get used to this place. If you’re looking for a more unique place to have breakfast and to try something new, Yaganeh is a great place to go.
Yegahneh is off of Stevens Creek Boulevard near Westfield Valley Fair Mall in San Jose. Parking is located in the rear or on the street in front of the place.