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Evaluation: Komaaj Mazze Wine Bar, Persian residence cooking!

As some may remember, Komaaj opened as a sort of store-front take-out place that I only discovered during the pandemic in late 2020, serving a selection of Northern Iranian dishes that were well-received.  A month or so ago, they moved into an actual sit-down restaurant – taking over the long-lived Good Fricken’ Chicken space in the Mission/Bernal District.

If you enter on Mission Street, you’ll find the kitchen and the Bazaar – a sort of deli counter with comestibles to buy and take home:  a daily lunch menu, prepared wraps, herbs and spice and tea blends, pickled veggies, labneh spreads, etc.  When you round the corner on 29th  (or just walk right through), you get to the actual restaurant – a spacious room done in warm hues with lovely wall hangings, pottery, carved wooden fixtures, and a beautiful, azure-tiled wine bar.  There’s a cozy corner in the front where you might sit and drink some sweet hot tea with a friend.  It’s all very welcoming.

For me, Persian food has always been about outstandingly fresh vegetables and herbs, and bold, bright flavors.  Komaaj did not disappoint.  We started out with the Rasht Mazze for four.

A large metal tray holds various dishes including flatbreads, hummus, vegetable sticks, salad, and other Mediterranean cuisine items, arranged neatly.
Rasht Mazzeh

There were only three of us, but we had no problem putting away the pomegranate smoked trout, beet yogurt, fava-dill dip, eggplant and walnut dip, Dalar yogurt, salted fish roe, pickles, fava beans, fresh herbs, veggies, and Sangak – a flatbread that was more like crackers.  Everything was beautiful and fresh with distinct flavors – and the only thing I’d tried before was the beet yogurt, a brilliantly hued spread that had a touch of sweetness to it. 

I think my favorite was the fava-dill, with the eggplant and walnut coming in at a close second.  The Dalar yogurt was simply some herbs and was a little bland, but a nice break from all the other full-flavored items.  We plowed through the platter, making the requisite yummy noises, while sipping a lovely, dry, Armenian red.  Well, two of us anyway: my friend’s husband had the special drink – 

A clear glass jar filled with a chilled drink containing ice cubes and chia seeds sits on a wooden table, with a straw and a napkin in the background.

Sharbat bahaar naarenj – orange blossom water with chia seed and dried sour orange petals.   Surprising, and I love a perfumey drink!  He could have done without the chia seeds but it was a very refreshing quaff.

We ordered three of the main dishes:

Motanjaan (Sweet & Sour chicken stew) for one.

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