Persian cookbook star Najmieh Batmanglij opens Tysons restaurant
Upscale Persian restaurant Joon just opened in Tysons Corner from famed chef and cookbook author Najmieh Batmanglij and ex-Maydan chef Christopher Morgan.
Why it matters: Imagine that Julia Child opened a restaurant after 40 years of cookbooks — that's essentially what Batmanglij, dubbed "The Grand Dame of Iranian Cooking," is doing.
- The rare Iranian restaurant explores regional cuisines — also the theme of a Batmanglij cookbook — from Persian Gulf seafood to meats from the mountains.
The backstory: Morgan counts himself "a big Najmieh fan." They developed a friendship after he took her cooking class. He went on to open Middle Eastern-style Maydan, where he earned a Michelin star.
- Joon co-founder Reza Farahani, who’d been after Batmanglij to open a restaurant for years, brought the project together.
What they're saying: "I want to share the delicious food of Iran and also the hospitality," says Batmanglij, a refugee who moved to D.C. in 1983. "Iranian people by nature are kind. Through food, we can touch people’s hearts."
Go deeper: Here's what to expect from Batmanglij's first U.S. restaurant:
The vibe: Fancy but friendly. Think Persian sazeracs and caviar service alongside huge lamb platters to share with at least six companions.
First bite: Complimentary bread service, a rarity these days, with homemade lavash, sabzi herb butter, tapenade, and Firefly Farms cheeses.
On the menu: Abundant small plates — Batmanglij nods to crispy sardines or frittata-like kuku with trout roe — alongside salads, stews, a kaleidoscope of kabobs, and rice dishes. Don't miss crispy tahdig "golden rice," a specialty.
- Sourcing rare and premium ingredients is key for the kitchen. Maryland's Moon Valley Farm custom grows items like Iranian basil and Persian cucumbers, while items including saffron come from a startup spice darling.
Splurge: In addition to that lamb shoulder platter that clocks in at 8 lbs and $190, you'll want to bring a crowd for showstoppers like whole dry-aged rotisserie duck with shallot yogurt, barberry preserves, and sour orange.
In your glass: Try the traditional Persian tea service, served with rock candy, or for something stronger, a Tehrooni Negroni with saffron ice and mint.
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