Established in 1986, Javan Restaurant is a Middle Eastern restaurant located on the Westside focusing on Persian food.
Inside, the environment was decidedly upscale, with a bar, a white grand piano, stone tables, wood accents, and plenty of pictures adorning the walls. All the waiters, moreover, were dressed quite formally with dress shirts and ties.
While we were perusing the menu, we noticed many people ordering a yogurt drink, and our waiter was kind enough to bring over for us a sample. The drink--Javan's Dough-- was light, slightly savory, and flavored with herbs. The savoriness took some adjusting to, but it was an refreshing drink nonetheless.
After perusing the menu, our meal began with some complimentary, homemade lavash. There were two varieties-- a normal wheat lavash and a whole wheat version--both of which were served warm. To accompany the soft, lightly crispy lavash, a whole onion, as well as mint leaves and pats of Rockview butter, were provided. This was a very generous serving--we barely polished off the bowl by the end of the meal.
For our appetizer, and as a condiment for the upcoming meal, we ordered a large Must O’ Kheyar (6 USD)-- yogurt with cucumber and herbs. This had a flavor profile very similar to the Javan's Dough with the herbs and creamy yogurt, but in comparison was much thicker and studded with lots of cubed cucumber. It went well with the lavash, as well as the flavorful meats and stews later on in the meal.
All of our entrees arrived together and quite timely after we made some headway into enjoying our appetizer and lavash. The Baghala Polo with Lamb Shank (16 USD) featured an entire lamb shank stewed in tomato sauce, herbs, and onions and was served with basmati rice flavored with dill and fava beans. This was very flavorful and enjoyable, with the lamb shank cooked to fork tender and having gained a lot of the sweetness from the tomato and onions and depth from the herbs; the dill scented rice provided a herb-y contrast to the tangy sauce and meaty lamb.
The Bademjan (15 USD), which featured sauteed and cooked egg plant with lamb shank served in tomato sauce, was like the preceding lamb shank dish, but with no bone, and a sweeter flavor with the addition of tomato. I found it interesting how even the eggplant stems were cooked whole and served in the dish--there were quite a number of them! It went really well with the soft, tender and pillowy basmati rice.
Our waiter recommended from the poultry side of the menu to try the Chicken Barg Kebab (19 USD)--pounded, marinated, skewered and broiled chicken breasts served with tomato sauce, lime, grilled tomato, parsley, and basmati rice. It was really impressive to the the meat so flattened; the chicken was flavorful, but a bit drier compared to the other meats, and thus really required the lime and the perky tomato sauce for flavor and additional moisture. The tomato sauce on this dish was a lot lighter as well--much brighter and simpler in flavor, given that it wasn't cooked with lamb or other meats.
Moving onto dessert, we ordered two to try out. The House Special Persian Ice Cream (6 USD) featured rose water, saffron and pistachio ice cream served with a cherry condiment. This was quite unique-- the ice cream was served very hard, and had a texture like that of Indian ice cream-- icy, but creamy when melted in the mouth. Pleasantly sweet and creamy, the tangy cherries provided a nice counterpoint to the ice cream.
The Faloodeh (6 USD) featured iced starch noodles in sugar and rosewater, and was served with the same cherry condiment as well as a half of a lime. This was quite intriguing, for the texture of the icy noodles changed as the faloodeh melted-- they were very light and crisp when frozen, but were more limp and flexible when melted. The rose water and cherry flavors were on the stronger end, but the lime helped to provide some contrast and balance--we appreciated this dessert much more with the inclusion of the lime.
Overall, a delicious meal at Javan Restaurant-- they do a great job in providing a quality, authentic Persian meal in a pleasant environment. You'll find quality meats and ingredients, professional service, and sizable portions in response to the higher prices on the regular menu (weekday lunch specials more reasonably priced, with smaller portions too).
11500 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: (310) 207-5555