Monday, February 2, 2015

Cazba : Downtown Vancouver location

Majority of the Iranian restaurants are located in Coquitlam and North Vancouver, but there are a few in Downtown as well. Cazba and Zeitoon are two of the most popular Persian restaurants and both establishments started out in North Vancouver before opening a second location in Downtown. If comparing the two, Cazba is more like a "fast food" restaurant compared to Zeitoon in my opinion. Cazba is located on Davie and Thurow street, and the restaurant is fairly large. The restaurant has plenty of well spaced out tables, four different dining areas, and a patio for when the weather permits.

As for the atmosphere, it is very casual and perhaps too laid back because we were seated at a table which was not properly wiped down. The table was dusty which I find odd, especially when considering there must have been people seated at the same spot not too long ago. Why would there be dust? The crumbs I understand, but dust? Strange. On top of that, there were grains of rice on the chairs  along with the floor. Of course we could have asked for a different table or chairs and the staff would have been fine with that, but I did not want to come off as troubling because Cazbo is a casual restaurant.

We should have asked for a different seat though because I did not know how uncomfortable I would be, which resulted in only ordering a couple of dishes and wanting to leave quickly. This is a shame because the interior has a lot of potential. There is a high ceiling, plenty of natural lighting, and I believe every table has a candle that is most likely lit during dinner services. Asides from the atmosphere, Cazba is a good lunch choice for those who work near by because there were only three seated tables when we arrived at 1:00pm. There is no need to worry about rushing back to work because of a delay in the kitchen or front of the house.

The generic packaged pita bread is served at a room temperature which can be used with the appetizers such as yogurt, hummus or an eggplant dip. The pita can also be used to wrap a piece of kabab meat with. As for the raw onion that is wrapped in a sanitary way with saran, it is an accompaniment for any of the dishes. I was disappointed that butter and sumac was not provided, but this is the part that makes Cazba more like a "fast food" establishment.

My pupils were still dilated from a laser eye surgery consultation and it was frustrating because I could not read the menu well. I forgot to ask for the brand of orange juice the restaurant carries too and was expecting Simply Orange since I am used to that taste, but what restaurant really serves that brand? The orange juice tastes like Minute Maid.

VAZIRI, "Combination of one ground beef and one boneless chicken breast kabab served with rice and grilled tomato" ($12.99).
Jujeh Kabab Rating: 3/5.
Beginning with the sides, there is a generous portion of fluffy basmati rice. The rice is also topped with a bit of saffron rice, but could have been served hot instead of warm. Moreover, the rice lacks flavour and I wish sumac along with butter was available. As for the nicely charred tomato, it resulted in a juicy flavour and was not burnt. A pepperoncini is also provided. Moving to the Jujeh Kabab, the chicken exhibits a nice caramelization and is well marinated. The meat also tastes moist (not juicy) and is not aggressively seasoned.

Koobideh Kabab Rating: 3/5.
As for the Koobideh Kabab which is ground beef, the meat is finely minced and does not resemble meatballs one bit. The flavours are very simple and that natural beefy taste is there, along with very finely minced onion. Furthermore, the koobideh is well seasoned, smooth, tender, and tastes moist. The kabab cools down fast though and once it does the meat tastes dry, so it is best to finish quickly.

SALMON FISH KABAB, "Grilled pink salmon served with rice and shirazi salad" ($13.99).
Rating: 1/5.
Really? Salmon? We planned on ordering the Bone In Jujeh but at the last minute, my friend wanted salmon instead. Although to be fair, she did say to order the bone in chicken as well but I passed because the dirty table was already bugging me. The salmon comes with a half order of rice and a shirazi salad. The shirazi salad consists of diced onion, cucumber and tomato, but what happened to the seasoning? The salad tastes bland and even with the help of a squeeze of lemon, it was lacking flavour, pepper and salt.

With regards to the salmon, it was not better than the salad. The salmon is overcooked, bland, dry and lacks seasoning. The first couple of bites were okay because the salmon only tasted dry but as the fish cooled down, the meat became more stiff and unappetizing.

TOTAL: $30.40 + TIP $4.60 = $35.00.

Cazba is an affordable restaurant and the value is fair for the quality of food. In terms of the food overall, there are better Persian restaurants and the lower prices, service and cleanliness of the restaurant resembles a fast food establishment (which is fine). Cazba does not offer any housemade Persian bread too. As for the service, it was very basic. The staff hung around casually and our waiter checked up on us. He was also stunned for a moment when we mentioned the salmon was overcooked and he told the kitchen later. This is worth mentioning because sometimes the staff say they will let the kitchen know, but do not. If comparing the Downtown location to Cazba in North Vancouver, the food is not as flavourful or juicy.

- Good value
- Above average chicken and ground beef kabab

- Restaurant is not clean
- Poor salmon and shirazi salad

- Nothing on the menu is over $15.99
- Cazba in North Vancouver serves better food

Food: 3/5
Service: 2.5/5

Cazba on Urbanspoon

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