Starting the first week of online classes means treating yourself to a nice meal.
Luckily, Rumi’s Kitchen at 640 L St. NW has you covered with several Persian snacks and delicacies. It’s just a two minute walk from Metro’s Mount Vernon Square station, and you can sit down for a meal or order for pickup or delivery via DoorDash.
I ordered takeout this week, but I would return another time to sit down and enjoy a dish. The restaurant’s chic, dimly-lit dining room is lined with rows upon rows of wine cabinets. Wooden tables fill the inside of Rumi’s Kitchen, and customers are seated in plush blue chairs.
To enforce social distancing, mannequins are placed at some tables not to be used by customers. The extra heads make the establishment seem more crowded and lively if you choose to dine out.
One of my best friends growing up was Iranian, and I was always amazed at the colors and flavors that fill each dish when I was invited over for dinner. I was tempted to order the “mirza ghasemi” ($12), smoked eggplant, or the “dolmeh” ($11), stuffed grape leaves with beef, which were common appetizers at my friend’s home. Other appetizers include customizable hummus, which comes with toppings like smoked salmon ($12), falafel ($12.50) and lamb sausage ($13).
If you’re feeling particularly hungry, check out Rumi’s “Feast” section of the menu, which offers a premium selection of dishes compared to your typical kabob food-truck. I was particularly tempted by the Persian lime and turmeric lamb shank ($28) and the “ghormeh sabzi” ($19) – a beef and scallion stew.
The vegetarian selection is not as extensive, but there are still delicious options like the vegetable kabob or the “badenjoon” eggplant and tomato stew (both $19).
After scanning through all the plates, I decided on the saffron-marinated chicken barg ($27), and I substituted the plain basmati-rice for the sour-cherry “albaloo” rice (extra $3).
The chicken was incredibly tender, with the delicate notes of saffron adding a faint floral taste with every bite. The dish is served with roasted tomatoes and fresh stocks of herbs like mint and parsley, which I found added the most prominent flavors to the dish.
Even if it was a simple combination of rice and cherries, the albaloo was my favorite part of the meal. Besides adding a beautiful purple to my plate, the rice’s tartness complimented the fresh and fragrant flavors of the chicken and raw herbs.
The meal was pricey, but the portions made up for it. Along with the actual dish, I got a side of homemade pita bread and a fresh garden salad with radishes.
If you’re looking for an afternoon drink, Rumi’s Kitchen also offers an extensive wine and cocktail collection. Had it not been for an upcoming class later that afternoon, I would have tried a glass of a 1997 Lebanese red wine ($11) or the saffron-infused “Tehran Mule” vodka-based cocktail ($12).
I didn’t cave in and order dessert this week, but I am tempted to return to try its white chocolate and cardamom cake ($10) or the famous Persian “faloude” treat ($9) – cold rice noodles served under rose water sorbet and lemon.
Whether you’re looking to try new flavors or are searching for a date-night restaurant, Rumi’s Kitchen won’t disappoint.