Negeen Persian Grill
Mehrdad Zarrabikia and Azar Valoozi didn't know much English when they arrived in New Jersey. But they dreamed of opening a restaurant where they could prepare and serve the meaty stews, saffron-flecked rice dishes, and tart doogh yogurt drinks of their homeland, Iran. Mehrad worked at a gas station, Azar took a job at a nursery school, and each took eight years of English lessons, planning out their restaurant along the way. The hard work paid off: the duo were not only able to open up their own restaurant, but their Persian specialties have since received praise from The New York Times.
Visitors to Negeen Persian Grill can often spot Azar in the elegant dining room, where she greets guests and directs servers beneath the glow of colorful glass mosaic lights. Mehrdad can usually be found in the kitchen, whipping up the authentic stews and basmati rice dishes. The seasoned chef grills and stews lamb, veal, and chicken, seasoning meats in typical spices such as saffron and cumin. His dishes pair well with the restaurant's extensive selection of teas. They feature flavorful blends of exotic fruits such as mangos grown in tropical climates and strawberries raised on the eastern side of the moon.