Friday, September 15, 2006

Hookahs not Bazookas

My roommate and I went to Ziryab this weekend, on the corner of Divisadero and Hayes next to Nopa. As far as I know, this is only the second hookah bar in San Francisco, the other one being somewhere in the Upper Haight where I don't go to too much, unless I'm looking for records, Golden Gate Park, or trendy used clothes.

We started off with the meze for two, which is a Middle-Eastern platter filled with all of the trappings: tender, dolma stuffed with ground lamb and cous-cous, with the grape leaf imparting just the right amount of tanginess, moist falafel, bright-green with parsley , chunky-vinegary baba ganoush, smooth pale humus, tabbouleh, and a creamy yogurt-dill sauce. Warm pita arrived to slather everything on, and we made quick work of it while we enjoyed our wines (Spanish Rioja for me, Petite Sirah for her) on the patio under the heat lamps.

The best part about the patio at Ziryab is that there are so many interesting people walking down Divisadero street at 10pm on a Sunday night. As my roommate said, "This neighborhood is like the Mission, but cleaner!" I don't know if I agree with her that far, but NOPA/Western Addition is certainly becoming hip. I guess all of the artists had to move somewhere once the boutiques and yoga studios took over Hayes Valley.

The lamb skewers were up next, perfectly tender and flavorful chunks of lamb meat interspersed with roasted red peppers. The cous-cous  the lamb was served over was bland, but the zingy shaved carrot salad gave a nice bite. I could have probably eaten one myself but we wanted to save room for dessert: an apple-tobacco hookah, Moroccan Mint tea, and tapioca creme brulee. 

Ziryab is pleasingly quiet, about half-full of locals enjoying a quiet dinner or hookah. The owner flitted anxiously by our table time and time again to make sure everything was right, which I found endearing.

528 Divisadero St. at Hayes, 415/522-0800
Dinner 4pm-midnight nightly, and they've just started doing lunches, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great place! Amazing food and wonderful service. The only down side, at least when they first opened, was that you can't hookah inside - they require you to go outside on their patio -which in cold SF weather, isn't all that appealing. But definitely a welcome addition to the new NOPA hood. :o)