Walnut Creek is the major restaurant and shopping community in Central Contra Costa County. It is on the BART line, has plenty of parking, and is considered by many to be a more convenient destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment than San Francisco.
It seems that just about every business on Main Street and Locust Street, and the side streets that connect them, in the older part of downtown Walnut Creek, is a restaurant. Name the cuisine, and there is a good chance that you will find at least one Walnut Creek restaurant that features it.
Bijan is a family-owned and operated restaurant that features Persian/Middle Eastern Cuisine. I can't tell you the number of times I've walked by since it opened on the corner of Locust Street and Giammona Drive, a few years ago. No reason to not have tried Bijan before; I just hadn't thought about it until J noticed it one day while we were at the Sunday Walnut Creek Farmer's Market which is across the street from the restaurant.
So, last week we headed over there...and what a treat it was!
While, I've had Persian cuisine before, I was not quite sure what and how to order. Our server was so helpful and she even brought samples of the Chicken Kebob which I wound up ordering for my main course. She was more than willing to bring us samples of other dishes, had we wanted to try more.
As we pondered the menu, we munched on the large round of warm Lavash (flatbread) which is served at every table with a platter of feta cheese, fresh mint, onions, and butter.
To maximize our tastes from the menu, we started with an appetizer serving of two stews: Fesanjon and Gheymeh.
The Fesanjon is a vegetarian stew made with dry roasted crushed walnuts which are cooked in a pomegranate sauce. The Gheymeh is a beef stew made with beef, fresh tomato sauce, lentils, dry limes, and eggplant. I rarely eat meat, but devoured every bit of my half of this stew sampler and I actually preferred the flavorings of the beef stew!
For main courses, J chose the Shirin Polo with Chicken Breast, a grilled chicken breast served with Basmata rice seasoned with almonds, pistachios, orange peel, raisins, and saffron.
The sample of the the Chicken Koobideh (ground chicken kabob) that I tasted before ordering was so tasty, I chose it as my entrée.
On my plate were two large kebobs of ground chicken breast which were seasoned with saffron and spices. My plate was garnished with a colorful array of steamed vegetables and a mix of white and basmati rice. My serving was so large that I saved half of it for dinner the next night.
Although we passed on dessert, the Baklavah and the Persian Ice Cream both were tempting. Our meal,with two glasses of wine, tax and tip, came to $71.00 for the two of us...very reasonable for this well-prepared flavorful dinner.
We were here on a weekday night and the restaurant was not very busy, possibly because there was no performance at the nearby Lesher Center for the Arts that evening. On Friday and Saturday nights, when belly dancers provide entertainment, it is a good idea to make a reservation for dinner to assure that you get a table without having to wait.
Bijan is also open for lunch.