Spring 2002 (10.1)
Dishing Up Azeri Cuisine
Cuisine in San Francisco Pasha Restaurant
Above: San Francisco's Pasha Restaurant, known
for its sumptuous decor and Middle Eastern dishes, is owned by
an Azerbaijani from Iran.
For the past 15 years, diners
in San Francisco have received the royal treatment at Pasha Restaurant,
which is owned by Jalaleddin Takesh, an Azerbaijani from Iran.
His menu features a wide variety of Middle Eastern cuisines,
with a special emphasis on Turkish, Lebanese and Moroccan foods.
Items include: pirzolah (rack of lamb), charbroiled kababs, moussaka,
stuffed eggplant, kufta (meatballs), chicken tagine, couscous,
dolma (stuffed grape leaves), b'steeya (chicken pie made with
phyllo pastry) and baklava.
Pasha Restaurant is known for its luxurious
decorations, which include brocaded cushions, tapestries and
carpets from Azerbaijan. Waiters are dressed in fezes and shalvar
[baggy pantaloons]. Takesh estimates that about 95 percent of
the restaurant's clientele is American.
Left: Jalaleddin Takesh and his musical ensemble
perform nightly at the restaurant.
Music plays an important part in the restaurant's atmosphere.
Takesh and his ensemble provide live music and entertainment
each night, complete with a belly dancer. Over the years, he
has recorded seven albums of music, some of it for the kanun,
a traditional stringed instrument from the region that's shaped
like a dulcimer. His albums may be purchased at the restaurant.
Takesh's mother is originally from Baku, but left for Urmia,
Iran in 1917, at the beginning of the Bolshevik Revolution. Takesh
moved to the United States in 1964, studying to be an engineer
until he decided to devote himself to music. He and his wife,
Andrea, have been operating the restaurant since 1986.
To find out more about Pasha, contact: Jalaleddin Takesh, Pasha
Restaurant, 1516 Broadway (west of Chinatown, between Van Ness
& Polk), San Francisco, CA 94109. Tel: (415) 885-4477; (415)
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
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