For Memorial Day Weekend, I went home to Greenville, SC to celebrate with my family, Ben and Sean & Christine, who drove up from Auburn (Ben) and Atlanta (S&C) to hang out. As per usual, whenever I spend any kind of extended amount of time with my family, we go out to eat at a new restaurant that one of us has discovered. Memorial Day weekend, it happened to be Pomegranate, a Persian restaurant on Main Street in Downtown Greenville. I’d driven by it a lot on various excursions downtown, but I never actually paid any attention to it. If I’d known Greenville had a nice Persian restaurant, I would have eaten there long ago, believe you me. I mean, they put a bunch of meat on sticks. How can you go wrong with that?
Our visit didn’t get off to a great start. When my mom called early that day to increase our reservation from 6 to 7, the hostess got all flustered, like we’d asked her something totally insane, like “Hi, I’m going to need for you to find me a chair made out of pure gold, because my badonkadonk is too high class to be sitting on anything less.” She chastised us over the phone “Ok… uhmmm….. let me see what I can do… I just…. this is really…. uh. It might be a bit of a problem. But. uhhh…… hold on [1 minute of silence] Ok. You have to call us if anything changes, because we were only planning for six of you. So let us know if you get any more or any less, because we might have to switch tables, which can be a problem… so…. just make sure you call us.” I’ve changed the number of people on a reservation a hundred times. I know for a fact that’s something restaurants deal with on a daily basis, so spare me the lecture and just add an extra chair to our table. It’s really not that big of a deal. Especially since the restaurant was half empty the entire time we were there. It’s not like people were fighting over seats. But, I digress.
Everything was fine when we got there, no issues over seating or numbers, which was good. Tina and I ordered their signature pomegranate martini, which is very, very strong, and very, very sweet. It was good, but it took me the entire meal to finish. We started out with an appetizer trio sampler, because we’re indecisive and hungry so we couldn’t pick just one thing. You can customize your trio based on what appeals to you, so I picked the Mast Khiyar (mixture of freshly diced cucumbers, yogurt, raisins, walnuts and fresh herbs), Borani Spinach (blend of sauteed spinach, onion, yogurt and garlic), and Hummus. Tina was apprehensive about the cucumber thing because it had raisins in it, but it ended up being her favorite of the three. It was almost like tzatziki, and you really couldn’t even tell that there were raisins in it. I think we made good choices (especially since the other options were all eggplant based, and I don’t really do eggplant). The hummus was good, although it didn’t compare to the hummus we had at the Moroccan restaurant in Duluth, which is the best hummus I’ve ever had. The spinach thing tasted a lot like the Palak dishes you find at indian restaurants. The appetizers were served with fresh, hot pita bread, which was delicious, and a tray of mint leaves and fresh feta cheese. All the mint ended up going in our water, because we’re school children who can’t behave ourselves in public.
For my entree, I ordered a Chinjeh Soltani, which was a combination plate consisting of one Koobideh kabob (blend of ground tenderloin and ground chuck, seasoned and charboiled) and one Chinjeh kabob (cuts of tenderloin, marinated in a saffron yogurt combination, charbroiled). The dishes were all served with a grilled tomato and complementing rice dish. Even though mine was just basic basmati rice, it’s probably the most flavorful rice I’ve ever eaten. You’re supposed to squish up the tomato and mix it in with the rice and then squeeze the lime all over it. So I did that. It was so good. Everything was delicious. The piece of meat that’s cut up in the picture is the Chinjeh, and the long stick is the koobideh. I can’t really say which one I liked better. They were both so, so good.
Sean and Ben both got the same thing, the Torsh Soltani, which was one Koobideh kabob (blend of ground tenderloin and ground chuck, seasoned and charboiled) and one Torsh kabob (cuts of tenderloin, marinated in a zesty sweet and sour Pomegranate sauce mixed with walnuts, charbroiled). Sean ordered special rice with lentils and golden raisins, which was also really freaking delicious. Ben got the same rice as me, so I’m only going to show a picture of Sean’s, because even though they ordered the same thing, I thought Sean’s meat tasted better (that’s what she said?). Christine decided to be different and order a chicken kabob. It wasn’t that interesting, and neither is she (jk jk! I love you Christinalena!). You can see it in the background of Sean’s picture.
Tina and Jenn got a chicken soltani, which was one chicken kabob (marinated in a lemon saffron sauce, charbroiled) and one barg kabob (tenderloin, marinated in a traditional Persian marinade of onion and saffron, charbroiled). I liked the barg, but I still think the torsh was my favorite. Tina’s came with basmati cranberry rice which was probably my favorite of all the rices I tried. It had that great balance of savory and sweet and tart. It was awesome. The chicken was good, but I don’t think it could even hold a candle to the beef. All of the beef dishes were absolutely outstanding, but the chicken was just kind of…. chicken. I mean, it was good, it just didn’t blow me away like the beef dishes did.
Dad decided to be unique and get something completely different from everyone else. He opted for the rack of lamb (marinated in a rosemary sauce, charbroiled), and lorded over it like a troll guarding a bridge. He reluctantly shared with us after we berated him enough, and I have to say that the lamb was pretty fantastic. I’m picky when it comes to lamb, because a lot of times lamb can be fatty and tough, but this was tender and lean, and the flavor was really outstanding. His came with the same rice as Sean’s (basmati rice with lentils and golden raisins).
We opted out of dessert, mostly because we were all stuffed, but also because they didn’t really sound that great. Even though it’s not the best middle eastern food I’ve ever had, it’s definitely the best middle eastern food in Greenville, so if you’re not afraid of GIANT STICKS OF MEAT, then I highly recommend you check it out.
Pomegranate On Main
618 S.Main St
Greenville, SC 29201