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Page history last edited by Mark P 15 years, 5 months ago

Pilaf Review


Pilaf ( http://www.pilafrestaurant.com/ ) served us mostly okay food in an enjoyable atmosphere. While its address a few blocks from the festival worried me because that meant it might be packed this Saturday night, its location in an alley and up some stairs put it far enough outside the beaten path that we had no trouble getting seated. The seven of us had a languid dinner sitting in the sun on a second floor balcony, chatting and eating. Di Yin writes, "being able to hear the creek near Pilaf, and seeing the bridge over the running water was delightful." A water mist-er of the type they use in gardens kept the temperature pleasant. And yes, by languid, I mean service was slow. Not bad but slow. But we probably set the pace by staring at our menus too long before ordering.


Dinner conversation ranged widely, including romantic deal breakers, the play early in the day (Bus Stop), childrens' songs, food, old roommates, the expressiveness of some people's faces, and even the water mist-er's name. (According to the proprietor, it didn't have one but the red flowers on the windowsill were called Pedro.)


As for the food itself, I can only report on what I tried and what people directly told me.


I shared three entrees: a fisherman's stew, a lamb stew "harira," and a vegetable stew (I forget the name) containing beans, corn, celery, and much more. All were bland, as if relying on the flavors from the vegetables and the meats to flavor the soups and stews and eschewing spices as unnecessary. The vegetable stew was served with an (undercooked) baguette intended for dipping.


The pita bread, fresh and warm, was fine. We got pita with many items, including the lamb stew. I tried on top of pita one person's carrot puree and decided that, yes, it was carrot puree. I'm told the hummus was "eh."


Still hungry after the bland stews, on the recommendation of another eater, I ordered a plate of falafel. The falafel were very good, with a thin crust and full of flavor; the accompanying tahini, while quite respectable, was unnecessary in the face of this quality.


The one drink I got to try was terrific. A Mediterranean cooler, it contained rose water, lemon and lime juice, and sour cherry syrup, and had the perfect balance of sweet and sour.


Some people had some French press coffee that looked very fancy. I don't know how it tasted though.


For dessert some people shared the baklava and claimed it was too nutty or just okay in general and that mine was better. :) Others shared a vegan silk chocolate pie and were similarly unenthused.


The restaurant had a foodie style:

  • The whole last page of the menu was devoted to definitions of various food items, ranging from the obvious (pilaf) to the obscure (za'atar). It came in handy and was interesting. One person said, "They have definitions. I live this. "You can find the glossary online too.
  • The menu and dishes reflect and are labeled for the various dietary choices people make, whether vegetarian, vegan, wheat-free, Atkin's, etc. Our one vegan was, according one attendee, "more than excited" by the vegan options.
  • The owner/founder is a chowhound. In short, it's not a bad place. Pilaf has lots going for it like decor and style but we really wish we were more excited by the food.


Original Announcement


There was no original announcement. As part of organizing a trip to Oregon's Shakespeare Festival, I did much research via chowhound and other web sites on good restaurants in Ashland.


One of the top restaurants on my list was Pilaf. Most other highly recommended ones were more expensive and required reservations (especially on a Saturday evening). And, with our group containing a vegan and others with vegetarian tendencies, a restaurant like Pilaf that is mostly vegetarian seemed like the obvious choice.


Comments from Other Attendees


The mediterranian fish stew that I had at pilaf was mediocre - no comparison to the stew of the evening before at Omar's. The shrimps came with tail shells attached, and the fish was overcooked. -di yin

Feel free to add remarks here.

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