Several years ago a friend and myself trekked down to Rose International Market (1060 Castro St, Mountain View, CA – if you’re coming from Stanford you take a right on Castro Street [it’s not in the downtown area]) where we had a great inexpensive kabob wrap.
This last Sunday the hubby and I repeated the trek and can definitely recommend it to anyone looking for good cheap eats. I haven’t been a big fan of Persian restauarants – the dishes I’ve tried has either been overflavored with one note (when I tried pomegranate chicken at one restaurant) or bland (some other place I went but can’t remember), but I like kabobs and the rice dishes they offer at this place.
Rose Market is a combo grocery store and kabob grill that has outdoor seating (with plenty of umbrellas for shade). The trick is knowing how to order – All items are pretty much ordered separately. You first order items like hummos, yogurt sauce, and rice from the small deli inside (plus pick up knives and forks). Place your kabob order at the checkout counter, get an order number, and then pick up your kabob order from the grill outside in the back (bring a dollar to tip the grill guys).
We picked up some drinks (various prices, I had coconut water). Then got yogurt sauce (2.99/lb) and Zereshk Polo (steamed white basmati rice with barberries and saffron, $2.99 for a box) at the deli. We then ordered a Chicken (3.99) and Barg (top sirloin marinated in saffron and other spice, 4.99) kabob with 2 orders of grilled tomatoes (0.99 each). All the meat is halal (the store displays a certificate).
The kabobs come on a tray placed on top of a piece of lavash (large thin piece of flat bread) with whatever veggies you order and a mix of cilantro, basil, and parsley (plus onion if you want it). Sumac is available at the table and we basically ladled rice and yogurt sauce onto the lavash , sprinkeled everything with sumac and had a great meal. Combining a small piece of lavash with rice, yogurt, basil, and parsley made for a delicious bite. We liked the food so much we picked up some more Zereshk Polo and a Koubideh kabob (ground beef and lamb mixed with onion and spiced, sprinkled with sumac, 1.99) for dinner.
On the whole we spent $20 for two people for our lunch meal, but there are much cheaper options. For a dollar extra, when ordering a kabob you can get a “super sandwich,” which is an individual kabob wrapped with vegetables, onions, and tomato inside. When I went with my friend, we each had a “super sandwich” and split an order of rice for a total $7 each (including a drink). If you get the Koubideh, you can spend even less.
You can go and just pick up the rice. They sell Baghali Polo (race with dill and fava beans), Loubia Polo (rice with ground beef, green beans, tomato sauce and saffron), and Tah Chin (baked rice with yogurt, eggs, saffron and layered with chicken). At this point I’m pretty sure “polo” means rice in persian.
The hubby and I are planning on trying the Tah Chin and going here again. The kabob grill was really popular and a wide variety of individuals were there.
The store sells halal meat at a reasonable price for meat in general (in case you’re interested). It also sells a mixture of Mexican and Persian groceries, as well as Persian cooking utensils (I’m not exactly sure what was what, but some of the coffee making implements looked interesting). We picked up a canister of sumoc (3.99) and two rose-saffron ice cream sandwiches (at 2.49 each). The rose-saffron ice cream was creamy and delicious, which is unusual in my experience (usually the rose ice cream I’ve bought had hasn’t been creamy, but hard).
The Rose International Market does catering and I wish that my dorm had catered some of the meals from here this last year.