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Persian restaurant Basil Cafe opens in St. James

Basil Café has opened in the St. James

Basil Café has opened in the St. James space where Zar Café closed last year. Credit: Basil Café

Admirers of the koobideh kebabs and eggplant dip at St. James’ Zar Café, which closed last year, have a reason to trek back to the Lake Avenue spot: They can again find some of the same dishes at Basil Café, which opened in March.

Owner and head chef Ray Akhlaghi, who has been a chef in the Boston area for over 20 years, has purchased the business from his extended family. Though Akhlaghi gave the restaurant a different name, he resurrected its Persian-Mediterranean fare, from zereshk polow to broiled Chilean sea bass.

“People see that we have similar items, and are happy that we are back,” said sous chef Dominic Gelish, who was most recently at Mac’s Steakhouse in Huntington. “We’re just listening to everyone.”

Another feature that Basil Café has revived: Outdoor dining on a front patio. Though the restaurant does not yet have an alcohol license, customers can bring their own alcohol for now.

Basil Café is open for lunch and dinner Mondays to Saturdays, and dinner only on Sundays.

Basil Café, 413 Lake Ave., St. James; 631-862-4444


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