Location: 12130 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025. (310) 442-9000
Date: November 16, 2015
Rating: Overdone decor, solid food
LA has a tremendous Persian population, and with it a great collection of Persian restaurants.
Darya is located on Santa Monica Blvd, just across the street from Echigo.
The interior is pure Persian — circa 1980 something. Check out all that faux gilding. The columns are like painted foam. And what’s with the whacky Salvador Dali painting — although I kinda like it.
Bread in Persian restaurants comes with butter, raw onion, and radish.
It’s the super flat bread too, which means you can eat more of it.
Kashkeh Bademjan. Sauteed eggplants blended with yogurt, topped with caramelized onions, fried garlic, mint oil, and creamy kashk (whey) sauce.
Good stuff with the bread. Not only does this have a nice roasted eggplant flavor, but all those exotic additives really take it to the next level.
Beef Koobideh. Seasoned ground beef served with Adas Polo, steamed white rice mixed with lentils, raisins, and dates.
Fesenjon. Slow-boiled chicken topped with a ground walnut-pomegranate stew, served with a side of Zereshk Polo, steamed white rice mixed with barberries.
The stew is sort of halfway to a curry, a slurry of pomegranate and walnut. It’s delicious over rice. It’s spiced without being even slightly spicy, which is typical of Persian cuisine.
You can really see how Persian food stands midway in the continuum between Levantine food like Lebanese and Pakistani or Afghan.
The last time I was here before this was perhaps in 2004, and this was just a quick visit, but I’ll have to come back and sample the a wider selection of the menu. I like how you can sub out the regular rice for these more interesting rice combos too.