Sherman's Food Adventures: Urban Gate

Urban Gate

Finding Persian food in Vancouver isn't necessarily a difficult thing to do, especially on the North Shore.  When we look at other areas in town, it can be a real challenge and when you do find a restaurant, it can also be hit and miss.  So imagine the surprise when we stumbled upon Urban Gate Bar & Grill in Coquitlam.   First of all, it didn't look like a Persian restaurant and certainly the name didn't elicit anything Persian either.  Second, we weren't planning to eat there anyways because we were trying to go to the Japanese restaurant next door.  So once again, we ended up with a random backup plan.

So after perusing the menu, it was clear they mixed in Persian food with bar favourites to appeal to a wider audience.  We asked our server what was good and that is why we stuck with the Persian food only starting with 2 appies.  Both served with lavash, we were completely in love with the Kashk Bademjan (Fried eggplant mixed with kashk, spiced and garnished with walnuts, mint oil, onion and garlic).  Wow, the texture on this was just right for the lavash being soft and delicate while not mushy at the same time.  The flavours were downright impactful with layered spices and of course the creaminess of the kashk.   We also got the Mast Moosir (shallot yogurt), which was also great with the lavash, but even better with the kebabs we ordered.  

On that note, the Persian Sampler consisting of 1/2 Jujeh, 1/2 Barg and 1 Koobideh was really good.  Of course my exposure to Persian food has been limited mostly to what I've had here, but this has been probably my favourite so far.  The meats were moist, tender and juicy while charred on the outside.  They were adequately spiced and as mentioned, went really well with the mast moosir.  The cone of saffron rice was also executed well being fluffy and aromatic.  We also ordered the Lamb Shank with baghali polo, accompanied with hot lamb broth & house salad.  Texturally, the lamb couldn't have been any better.  It was fork tender, moist and gelatinous.  Usually, there would be some drier parts, but there was none of that in our dish.  Once again, the lamb was flavourful enough without being over-seasoned (ie. salty).

One dish we weren't that fond of was the Gheimeh Bademjan Stew featuring eggplant, split peas, tomato paste & seasoned beef.  To be fair, I've never had this before and maybe it could've been just a subjective thing, but it was pretty greasy with a huge oil slick at the top.  Furthermore, the flavours were just too muted and flat for our liking.  It was if they forgot to add the tomato paste because we didn't get any hint of it in the taste nor the appearance.  I would've also liked to see more beef as we had to dig around to find it.  However, everything else was delicious and well-executed.  I would not hesitate to come back for the Persian dishes.

The Good:
- Meats were really good
- Loved the flavours
- Service was good for us

The Bad:
- A touch pricey
- Didn't like the stew

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