Persian, Middle Eastern
Secreted in a Huntington alleyway is this quirky Persian Middle-Eastern spot offering an array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, most served on a bed of bright, fresh vegetables accompanied by "coo coo" bread, a flaky flatbread similar to Indian naan. Try the coo coo sabzi, a custardy dish similar to a crustless quiche.
Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
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Tasty American Coo Coo: First, get past that name. Then, find this bright, little eatery, which isn't at its given address but, rather, off a walkway bordering the municipal parking lot between Wall and Clinton Streets. Worth the effort? Definitely.
That's because chef-owner Sha Safaii, originally from Iran, puts so much care into what he serves. Which, by the way, is more Persian-Middle Eastern than American. The "tasty" part of the name, though, seems about right.
Here, you order at the counter (your food will be brought to your table), navigating a menu that's a minefield of crazy names. "Coo Coo" is what Safaii calls the flaky flatbread you probably know as naan, which is baked on-site in a tandoor oven. It accompanies most items and, in the case of the dish called "coo coo bread baked," is stuffed with a saucy, savory poultry or meat mixture and served in wedges. Is it a pie or a sandwich? Whatever; it's irresistible.
So, too, is the Coo Coo sabzi, a verdant and crustless vegetarian quiche that tastes vibrantly of the green vegetables and fresh herbs that go into it. Hummus, served with naan, is another ideal item for those who don't eat meat. A vegetable kebab is one more.
If you ask the difference between "tender pieces of chicken fillet" and "chick chick fillet of chicken with honey fries," it comes down to the presence of sweet potato fries. The chicken is well marinated, if a bit overgrilled. Another item, called "barbecued marinated ground mix chick chicken and turkey" is actually two oblongs of ground spiced meat, adeptly grilled. You can also opt for a beef version.
Lamb kebab is highly savory and juicy, despite being overgrilled. But salmon kebabs turn out just right, moist and infused with spice. So, too, do shrimp kebabs.
Every entree plate sports an array of bright vegetables and pickles. One day, there's iceberg lettuce in the mix; another day, lettuce and a pink beet-based dressing. Basmati rice with lentils, saffron and raisins makes for a welcome side dish.
The only dessert is rose gelato. If flower-and-nut finales don't do it for you, Huntington offers a veritable smorgasbord of frozen dessert options.
What it's been lacking, until now, is a Middle Eastern eatery whose costliest dish rings up at $11.95. Call that anything but coo coo.