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Cafe Suron
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    Post #1 - October 19th, 2004, 10:22 am
    Post #1 - October 19th, 2004, 10:22 am Post #1 - October 19th, 2004, 10:22 am
    Tucked away in an old hotel lobby in the northeast corner of the city, Cafe Suron serves Persian food that is worth a visit.

    I was part of a group of four that visited Cafe Suron this weekend. We made reservations for Friday night, which was clearly unnecessary, as the restaurant was more than half-empty.

    We ordered three appetizers from the impressively diverse menu. The highlight was the Kashke-Bademjan, a seasoned eggplant dip with caramelized onions. Rich, strong flavors. My initial reaction was, "I've never tasted anything like this before." Delicious.

    The other two appetizers were a tasty stuffed eggplant and a roasted goat cheese in tomato sauce. Fresh flavor across the board.

    The list of entrees is as equally diverse as the appetizers, but many of the items are similar. There are a handful of seafood options (tuna, tilapia, mahi mahi, scallops), vegetarian options, lamb, chicken ,beef, and even quail.

    I ordered the grilled quail. I was served three seasoned and grilled quail along side a mound of dilled rice and grilled vegetables. The quail were delicious, but messy. Well seasoned, crispy skin, and sweet meat. Perfectly cooked. As a reminder of my delicious meal, my fingers were stained from the seasoning for a whole day. Ask for extra napkins.

    The atmosphere is casual and friendly, the prices are low, the service is attentive, it's BYOB, and not too crowded. Cafe Suron has a lot going for it. It's a hidden, seemingly unkown gem that's worth a visit.

    One bit of warning: They do not accept credit cards. Parking can be difficult in the area, but their website says valet is available (which I did not see when I was there).

    Cafe Suron
    1146 W Pratt (east of Sheridan)
    (773) 465-6500
  • Post #2 - October 19th, 2004, 12:20 pm
    Post #2 - October 19th, 2004, 12:20 pm Post #2 - October 19th, 2004, 12:20 pm
    Their fessenjan is also quite good (chicken with pomegranate/walnut sauce).
  • Post #3 - March 16th, 2005, 2:55 am
    Post #3 - March 16th, 2005, 2:55 am Post #3 - March 16th, 2005, 2:55 am
    EC --

    Wanted to thank you for posting the entry on your blog about Cafe Suron. I chose this venue for our "bonus" meetup this month. It was, overall, a fairly good experience.

    I had a bit of trouble finding parking in the area at first, but that was mostly because I was unfamiliar with the neighborhood -- I eventually discovered that there was plenty of street parking on Sheridan that was free and available. (Being a suburbanite, parking is my greatest anxiety and annoyance of coming into the city.)

    The atmosphere is nice -- though I have to say I was slightly disappointed that the fountain (shown on their website) wasn't on. The host also seated our party right next to the door, which was great for visibility as people came in, but bad as I caught most of the cold air coming in through the front door. Only other small complaint I can make about the venue is that, because of the high ceilings, the accoustics were not so great. It was very loud and sometimes difficult to hear what someone at one end of the table was saying (there were 7 of us in all).

    Our waiter was nice, but the service was very slow. I can't be sure if it was because they were fairly busy (seemed so for a Tuesday night; at 7 PM, the place was about 3/4 full), or if it could be attributed to a "slower" European attitude. I was going to bring in some wine, but left it in my car. No one else BYO'ed, so I decided to leave it and try some of the non-alcoholic offerings. The Persian tea I had first was very strong and somewhat earthy/minty. Not too bad.

    We decided to order some appetizers to share. Since you made a comment about the quail, we ordered the grilled quail appetizer, which was fantastic. I especially liked the spinach the quail came on -- it had a great flavor to it, sort of garlicky and savory. We also ordered the Sampler Platter, which came with Dolmeh, Hummus, Baba-Ganush, Kashke-Bademjan and Persian Salad. The Dolmeh (stuffed grape leaves) and Hummus were fantastic. I think I can actually say that was some of the best hummus I've ever had.

    We ended up having to wait quite a while for the dinner entrees -- I think one of our guys said it was something like 45 minutes before the entrees finally came out. Honestly, if it hadn't been for the interesting conversation, I probably would have been very annoyed. As it was, I had noticed we had been waiting an unusually long time.

    Almost everyone ordered a combination plate -- lamb, chicken, scallops, or some combination thereof, and quite amusingly, everyone's dinner was pretty much plated the same -- (just like the Barg, if you look at Cafe Suron's menu). I don't think it gets much more accurate than that, other than that everyone had dill rice, which was green, instead of the white rice pictured there.

    I, on the other hand, decided on the Mahi-Mahi, which, upon plating, looked pretty much like the Hawaiian Tilapia featured on their website. I also received an extra-large side of dill rice. The dill rice was really nice and mild. I particularly was pleased because I'm not a huge dill fan. The saffron was nice, too. I can't say as much about the Mahi-Mahi. Not a whole lot of flavor going on there; wouldn't order that again.

    I didn't try any of the other dishes (i.e., the lamb or chicken or scallops), but everyone else seemed pretty happy with their entrees. The comment that stuck out the most was that the lamb had a different kind of flavor -- it was very tender and almost beef-like.

    We decided to order dessert as well; they had six choices: a pear tart, vanilla custard, key lime cheesecake, taramisu, a chocolate-type cheesecake, and a berry tart with a cheese filling. Around the table, we had the pear tart, key lime cheesecake and the vanilla custard.

    I, personally had the custard, which was served with a criss-cross of cinnamon and pistaschio crumbs. Good combination, simple, not overwhelmingly fantastic, but tasty. I also tasted the Key Lime cheesecake, which was much better, by far. I've had Key Lime Cheesecake in the past before, though (not here) and am kind of partial to it. Coffee was very decent as well.

    Overall --- while I'd rather have had a warmer table and slightly faster service, I'd say the meal was worthwhile, all things considered. The waiter was kind enough to split our entire table's checks, so that earned him a couple extra bucks. Overall, with tax & tip, my dinner came to about $30. Not bad at all for a three-course meal.

    If you go, be prepared to wait for your food. Also: if you BYO, the restaurant has a $4 corkage fee. I didn't think the BYO was necessary, but it might make your wait a bit more tolerable ...

    ETA: Two other comments to make: 1) The [ladies] bathroom was very nice and clean. There's definitely something to be said for that ...

    /George Constanza

    2) They do accept credit cards now; one of the people in my party paid with a credit card.
  • Post #4 - March 16th, 2005, 9:03 am
    Post #4 - March 16th, 2005, 9:03 am Post #4 - March 16th, 2005, 9:03 am
    Green Fish,

    Thanks for posting this follup up on Suron. I haven't been back since around the time of my original post. It's nice to be reminded. It's good to know that they're taking credit cards now too.

    It sounds like their popularity is increasing and the kitchen is having a hard time adjusting in time management (but thankfully not quality). During my previous visits, they were never more than 1/3rd full and I would describe the service as "relaxed" but not "slow".

    Welcome to

    Michael / EC
  • Post #5 - March 16th, 2005, 3:37 pm
    Post #5 - March 16th, 2005, 3:37 pm Post #5 - March 16th, 2005, 3:37 pm
    GF's said mahi here:

    my Chengeh + lamb kabob here:

    ditto to what she wrote, the dill rice was second best part of the meal, superceded by the excellent quail. the quail was well marinated, and dare i say, 'succulent', whereas the kabobs were pleasant, but uninspiring. the fact that i could not differentiate my the chengeh from the lamb severely troubled me.

    as far as that key lime cheesecake... meeehhh.. mediocre. for $30 and 2.5 hrs, i'd rather hit up tournesol/la sardine for the pre-fix. the molasses service was inexcusable and for that alone, i won't be back. thank goodness for the conversation...
  • Post #6 - March 17th, 2005, 9:47 am
    Post #6 - March 17th, 2005, 9:47 am Post #6 - March 17th, 2005, 9:47 am
    Cafe Suron is a pretty good place, Though I haven't been to Noon-O-kabab after the reports of check please induced downhill notices, I always thought that noon-os stuff was a little nicer.

    that being said, Cafe Suron is a little bit nicer room than you'd expect and the food is a little bit less expensive than it could be. Which is a pretty nice combination. My experience has been to enjoy the apps more than the main plates.

    One thing to note is that it can be a little hard to find parking in the area

    Here's a link to an old review of the place I did a while back[/url]
  • Post #7 - November 4th, 2006, 1:27 pm
    Post #7 - November 4th, 2006, 1:27 pm Post #7 - November 4th, 2006, 1:27 pm
    Finally, finally we got to Cafe Suron - my brother was in town, and treated the Uberspouse, Sparky and I to a fun dinner.

    I'd agree with the assessment of the appetizers: we had two - goat cheese marinara (which was nothing unusual) and Maust-a-kishmish which was a lovely yogurt dill sauce containing raisins that nicely balanced the sour yogurt, and almonds for crunch. (LTH holiday TV special: Maust a Kishmish saves ChanukahKwanzaaRamadanChristmasWinterSolsticeFestivus?) Very good. I'm guessing the small portions of the entrees might be a better way to go, there was a LOT of food to follow...

    I had the quail, which was delicious but, as above, difficult to eat; it was very flavorful and grilled nicely, with a side of rice and excellent grilled pepper, onion and tomato. The 'spouse had the Fessenjan, which was cut pieces of chicken breast in a molasses-like pomegranate sauce - it might have been cloying without wine, but with was very good. Paul and Sparky had a combo plate; scallops, chicken, shrimp and beef between them. All of these were in the upper range of OK.

    For dessert, Sparky and I shared some kind of berry/marscapone cake that was very, very good, and the 'spouse and Paul had the custard, which I liked a lot - sort of like premium quality rice or tapioca pudding, without rice or tapioca. The cinnamon and pistacios went particularly well with their rich Turkish coffee. We may go back just for dessert.
  • Post #8 - December 11th, 2006, 5:02 pm
    Post #8 - December 11th, 2006, 5:02 pm Post #8 - December 11th, 2006, 5:02 pm
    We had a terrific impromptu meal at Cafe Suron last night with 5 friends. I have been going to Cafe Suron since the first week the place opened, and I have to say that over the years, it has gotten steadily better. The food has always been very good, but for several years the service was a little slow and disorganized. Last night, it was spot on. We got there pretty late (they close at 9 on sunday). I saw my friends drive by looking for a place to park. One of the owners told me to call them on a cell phone and tell them to pull up in front. He cleared a spot for them to park in the loading zone right in front of the restaurant. We were the last table seated for the night, but they didn't make us feel rushed at all. In fact, after we finished eating they let us hang out and talk for a while, despite the fact that we were the only customers left in the place. They even offered us tea while we conversed.

    As usual, the appetizers were stellar. When we first sat down, they brought us a complimentary Persian Salad. We ordered a couple of my favorites, the dolmas and the kashke bademjan (mashed grilled eggplant with sweet carmelized onions). We also had the stuffed baby eggplant with melted cheese, which was better than OK but not very imaginative, and the calamari. I had actually never had the calamari before. In the past, I have been a little disappointed by some of Suron's seafood offerings, so I tended to avoid them. As it turned out, the calamari was wonderful. It consisted of little rings of tender marinated squid that were grill-charred at the edges in a lemon and wine sauce with bits of tomatoes and capers. I am definitely adding the dish to my Suron repertoire.

    For an entree, I had my usual rare lamb kebabs. Suron serves the best lamb kebabs I have had in the city. It is one of the few places I will order rare lamb. I don't know if I was just hungry last night, or it was the tasty bottle of Spanish wine we brought, but the kebabs seemed particularly good. They were marinated perfectly, just enough to give them a nice garlicky flavor but not enough to overpower the flavor of the meat. They were very tender, but still firm and meaty. Everybody else enjoyed their entrees also. Two people had the Barg (tenderloin kebabs). One guest from LA commented they were the best he has had. Most of the kebabs at Suron are excellent. Like I said, I tend to stay away from the seafood offerings there. It is not that they are bad, but they are just not as good as the meat dishes. Two people had the fessenjan, which is chicken breast in walnut and pomegranate sauce. I find this dish to be too rich and sweet (I also dislike chicken breast), but it looks very nice. The people who ordered it enjoyed it very much. The other person had a vegetarian dish of stewed eggplant and tomato with sour grapes. They seemd pleased enough with it (can't get enough eggplant). The four people who had not dined there before were very impressed with the quality (and quantity) of the food, as well as the pleasant ambience of the room (which can get pretty loud when it is more crowded).

    Anyhow, I just thought I would plug one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants (and one of my favorite Persian restaurants). I urge anyone who hasn't been there to give it a try, I think you will enjoy it. And anyone who was there in the past, and found the service to be well intentioned but inept, should give it another try. Maybe we just had a good waiter last night, but they really seem to have their act down from both a timing and a customer service perspective (the food was pretty flawless also).

    If you have trouble finding parking in the area, run into the restaurant and ask for some help, they may be able to accomodate you.
  • Post #9 - June 13th, 2007, 10:44 am
    Post #9 - June 13th, 2007, 10:44 am Post #9 - June 13th, 2007, 10:44 am
    Has anyone checked out Cafe Suron lately? Good reports on the food?
  • Post #10 - June 13th, 2007, 11:31 am
    Post #10 - June 13th, 2007, 11:31 am Post #10 - June 13th, 2007, 11:31 am
    I was there for the first time back in April. It was a Saturday night, I think and like someone reported before, the service was really slow. But the food was good and the waitress was nice enough. We were okay with having a leisurely-paced dinner, so we didn't mind too much, except that it would have been nice for them to at least send someone around to refill water or something.

    The food was really good- I'm not normally a fan of eggplant, but whatever the dip is that comes on the sampler plate (there's baba ghanouj and another eggplant one, in addition to the two other dips) was very good. I guess I just haven't been getting eggplant from the right place!

    I would definitely go back- it's a great space (though maybe a little loud and echo-y) and it looked like they can open those front windows in the summer. Ahhh! Just plan on it taking awhile.
  • Post #11 - July 29th, 2007, 9:56 pm
    Post #11 - July 29th, 2007, 9:56 pm Post #11 - July 29th, 2007, 9:56 pm
    Just an FYI.

    Cafe Suron is for sale.