Confession:  I will admit that before Jared, my food tastes were pretty limited.  In my opinion, the most beautiful part about our relationship is the fact that we’ve encouraged one another to step out of our comfort zones and try new things.  Food happens to be the one area where I’ve really made some radical changes!

Since Jared’s step-mom is from the Middle East, we’re always looking for great restaurants that do justice to a Middle Eastern menu.  After all, when you’re used to eating the real thing from an authentic cook, you can’t go back!  Narenj Persian Grill in Basking Ridge consistently does a great job meeting this standard.

We first went to Narenj on a Sunday in October for a late lunch to celebrate Jared’s step mom’s birthday and again this past Friday for dinner with my fabulous cousin and her hubby.  Even though it was around 2 p.m., there were a few people lingering over lunch still.  The atmosphere was casual, with tables and booths nicely spaced.  Narenj is BYOB, with a wine and beer store only a few storefronts down.

The menu for Narenj is traditional, while still allowing for various options.  Since we were with a group, we chose to get an appetizer platter that included a choice of 4 appetizers.  I’ve found in the past that taking this option can sometimes cut down on how much sampling you can do of the choices on the platter, but Narenj does a great job catering to the number of people at the table from a portion perspective.

Entree choices ranged from wonderfully flavored kebabs to stews and several vegetarian options.  On both occasions, I had the kebabs, one time choosing lamb and the next chicken.  While both meats were very well flavored, I have to say I think the lamb was fantastic.  Served with a generous portion of rice, it was filling while not being overwhelming.  Portion sizes of rice are large, however, the meat portion is enough to fill about one kebab stick.

Desserts at Narenj are deliciously traditional, with a fabulous Baklava, along with an extremely fabulous Zulbia and Bamieh.  All desserts pair nicely with a Turkish Coffee, or a Persian Hot Brewed tea.

Overall, Narenj is a terrific, low-key option for lunch or dinner any time of the week.  With enough authenticity to please those that know the difference, I’d say it’s a great option no matter who is coming for dinner!

My Rating:  10/10

Narenj Persian Grill
25 Mountain View Blvd.
Basking Ridge, NJ 07320
908-580-0600
http://www.narenjpersiangrill.com

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