Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ceazar Restaurant in Elkridge

The new Caezar Restaurant is delicious addition to Elkridge -- Persian foods with an attention to detail, but a casual price.

The restaurant is the sister-business to Howard County's best Middle Eastern grocery store, which moved to Elkridge this year after 13 years in Columbia under the name Sizar's. Now, the Caezar International Market sits next to the restaurant, so you enjoy a great meal and carry home some delicacies for later.

Caezar Restaurant starts with a pretty basic menu -- appetizers, salads, and grilled meats served as wraps or platters. But the menu actually offers some unique variations, which I understood were the Iranian takes on food that I learned in Turkish and Lebanese restaurants. So the wraps come on a thin, lavash bread instead of pita, and the choices include items new to me like a yogurt and cucumber appetizer "mast-o khiyer," a sliced beef sandwich called "motadella," and a Persian noodle soup "ashe reshteh."

The meal was delicious. Our wraps came with a small starter plate of salad and bread, which was a really nice bonus. A square of salty cheese, radishes, onion, parsley and that "mast-o khiyer" appetizer. We ate them slowly with pieces of the house bread, which was a flavorful thin bread like pita, and it made the meal -- a late lunch when the restaurant was almost empty -- something more special than just your normal sandwiches. And the sandwiches were special themselves. Grilled meat (chicken or tenderloin) rolled inside that multi-layered lavash bread and accompanied with tomato, lettuce, herbs and pickle.

Again, the herbs and pickle were different. Caezar has a casual feel, but they want to be something more special than just a kabob joint. The modern plates and the tablecloths at dinnertime show you that they're offering something special. For that kind of attention to detail, the meal was a bargain. For $20, we each had drinks and sandwiches so large that we brought halves home as leftovers, plus we enjoyed the little salads and an appetizer of samose. That was six fried pastries filled with potatoes and peas. The menu calls them "spicy," but they're actually mild -- especially compared to the samosas and sauces that you would get at House of India or Mango Grove.

If you go to Caezar, you should definitely ask questions. The waiters were extremely friendly, and, once they realized that we were interested in Iranian food, they talked at length and let us sample a Persian garlic pickle that was completely new to me. They were also just incredibly nice. Mrs. HowChow loves yogurt dips like raita, so we ordered the mast-o khiyer appetizer. The waiter could have just brought us the dish and padded his check, but he pointed out that our sandwiches came with the same dip on the side. That's the kind of attention that makes me a regular.

If you enjoy grilled meats like the kabobs at Caezar, you should also check out the local variations -- another Persian option called Parsa Kabob off Rte 108 near Rte 174 or the Afghan joints like Maiwand Kabob in Columbia and Mimi's Kabob in Clarksville.

If you go to the Ceazar International Market next door, you should definitely try the pistachio nougat. Not cheap, but the rose water flavor makes this one of the most delicious things that you can buy anywhere.

Ceazar Restaurant
6801 Douglas Legum Drive
Elkridge, MD 21075
443-755-9442 (market)
442-755-9444 (restaurant)

NEAR: Just off Rte 103 east of U.S. 1. This is just south of Rte 100 and less than two miles from I-95. From Rte 100, you take U.S. 1 south, turn left at the first light onto Rte 103 and follow it as it curves twice. Ceazar is in a shopping center on the left.

Ceazar Restaurant on Urbanspoon


BeerGuy said...

Mmm, radishes. Thoroughly under-utilized in cuisine lately.

Anonymous said...

has the market gotten bigger?

I've shopped at the Irvine mkt (a persian mkt) in Irvine, CA (OC)
if anyone here has been there so they can compare the two

HowChow said...

Anonymous -- The new space is brighter and seems bigger. It has larger freezers and a butcher But the original Sizar's was jam-packed with stuff, so I don't know whether Ceazar's is noticeably larger. I'd love to know what you think.

I have never been to Irvine, but Iranian folks have described to me an enormous Persian community in LA. I went to a Japanese market in Torrance that was a supermarket and a food court. In contrast, Ceazar's is two shopping center bays.

Anonymous said...

Ceazar Market is bigger than Sizar's Food Market in Columbia. New groceries including sweets for the Persian New Year have just arrived on Thursday, so the market is now packed.

Anonymous said...

HowChow actually I'm the one that emailed you about the Harris Teeter coming to Maple Lawn.

wow I didn't know the old one still existed

Anonymous said...

The market is definitely bigger, but I was at the Irvine Market last summer, and this simply doesn't compare. Irvine market is much bigger by comparison, and has a much larger selection, but for this area, it is quite good.

I haven't had a chance to try the restaurant, but am excited to try it.

Lovely Rita said...

Lovely place, good food. The restaurant had very attentive service and quality food – everyone was happy with their meals and the specials deserve consideration. White tablecloth service at fast food prices is impossible to beat. It is difficult to find, but it definitely is a better experience than the Maiwand chain. I hope it does well.

We did not visit, but the market is less cluttered than the older one (the owner was chased out by higher rents).