Cooks Out of the Kitchen

Judi Friedman and Jerry Lankin

Judi Friedman and Jerry Lankin

We’re two SaddleBrooke foodies forever seeking great places to eat!

We’ll review two restaurants each month for taste and presentation, service, price, value, and ambiance. If you have a favorite eatery and would like to spread the word, please send us an email at [email protected].

Persian Room

9290 N. Thornydale Road, Tucson (Thornydale Village), 520-744-1414

Our friends Jack and Dan invited us to dine with them at the Persian Room, and as we had never been there, even after 15 years in Tucson, and never wanting to miss an opportunity to rate a new restaurant, we were all in. We entered into a beautifully appointed room that immediately set the mood as an exotic location for what was to become a great dining experience. Beverages were immediately offered by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic server. The iced tea was refilled often without asking, and our server was attentive throughout the meal.

Served immediately to the table was a platter of sliced onion, fresh mint, cilantro, and basil, accompanied by bread to stack the most novel, welcoming course we have ever seen. We started with the appetizer platter consisting of dolmeh (grape leaves rolled over a rice filling), hummus, and roasted eggplant—the best we have ever tasted—yogurt and cucumbers, Greek salad, and torshi, an unbelievably flavorful mix of chopped vegetables pickled to perfection. As we write this, our mouths are watering. It was almost a meal unto itself, and the four of us had trouble finishing it.

First courses included a lamb kabob and a chicken kabob, both grilled to perfection and served with rice as well. A Gheimeh Bademjan, a beef stew with yellow split peas, onions, and dried limes simmered in a tomato sauce and topped with eggplant was delicious! Of course, more rice. Dessert was pistachio ice cream and a honey-infused churro dish. We rolled out of there with boxes of food for leftovers to be.

Taste & Presentation *****

Service *****

Price Range $$$$

Value *****

Ambiance *****

The Persian Room is highly recommended.

Charred Pizza

Oro Valley Marketplace, 520-395-2232

As your cooks left the Oro Valley Marketplace movie theater, the smell of pizza was wafting through the area from Charred Pizza, and we were enticed! We were seated promptly in their side patio area with misters, making the area delightful. The added bonus was the beautiful view of the Catalinas we had.

We read through their menu, which had many choices with interesting combinations of toppings. We decided to share the pizza with brie and pepperoni (it usually comes with pancetta). The pizza was delivered quickly, served hot, and looked wonderful. The crust was exactly how we both like it—not too thin—with a freshly made flavorful sauce with melted brie (incredible!) and pepperoni. This is a great place to pop into before or after a movie.

Taste & Presentation ****

Service ***

Price $$

Value ****

Ambiance ***

Charred Pie is recommended.