"This is our Persian soup; we make it with 17 different vegetables. We top it with mint, crispy onion, garlic, and yogurt" (that is, kashk). The gal who runs Taste of Persia's outdoor pop-up repeats this litany tirelessly; despite the winter cold, customers just keep coming.
Not far away, chef-owner Saeed Pourkay also serves his thick noodle soup, ash reshteh (small, $6), and three or four other dishes each day from the front corner of a Flatiron pizzeria. (At less-busy hours, you may be offered samples of the lot, commentary included.) The setting is unglamorous, but it does offer indoor seating and ready access to fountain soda.
Previously: My Persian plate ($12) would look humdrum if not for the sumac powder and saffron water that decorate the basmati rice. That's too bad. Kabab diggi, the sauteed ground beef shown at top left, is quite good; fesenjan, below it — shredded duck in a pomegranate walnut sauce — is terrific, especially for the tartness of the pomegranate.
Taste of Persia
12 West 18th St. (Fifth-Sixth Aves., inside Pizza Paradise), Manhattan
Also at the Union Square Holiday Market (through December 24)
Vicinity of 14th St. and Union Square West, Manhattan