A prominent chef I interviewed refuses to order from the specials board, convinced it’s the provenance of tired ingredients and untested dishes. There are certainly places that would follow those unseemly practices, but I’m convinced some restaurants are serving specials that are actually special. Case in point: Taste of Tehran, a bare bones Persian restaurant with blonde wood tables and benches that debuted in July, 2013. Saghar Fanisalek, who attended Le Cordon Bleu and worked up Westwood Boulevard at Shaherzad for about a decade, helped craft the menu, and Roshan runs front of house. Specials on the board by the register might not all be available, but order them if possible. This specials board features savory stews, braised meats, and of course kebabs, which if you’re lucky will include Cornish Hen.
Cornish Hen ($14), a tiny chicken that my father ate pretty often when I was a kid, enjoys an overnight marinade in yogurt, saffron, onion, salt, pepper and more, resulting in juicy parts that build winning chars on Taste of Tehran’s grill. Each entrée at the Los Angeles restaurant comes with a grilled tomato, a sizable pile of fluffy saffron-stained basmati rice, and a salad with tangy house dressing made with yogurt, mayo and dill. Hopefully the Persian powers that be in back keep Cornish hen on the board, and hopefully it’s actually available, since I definitely plan to order the bird again.