Thanks to the new Movida Lounge in San Francisco’s South of Market District, there is now Persian-Mexican cuisine, too.
At first thought, you might think this a puzzling head scratcher. But reflect further, and you’ll realize that over the past decade, all manner of cuisines have been folded up and tucked into tacos and burritos, most notably Korean fare at Los Angeles’ ground-breaking Kogi Korean BBQ truck. So, smoky kebabs and Middle Eastern dips enveloped in tortillas, especially ones that also incorporate rice like they do here, aren’t so farfetched after all.
Especially when you learn that after Co-Owner Bobby Marhamat’s parents immigrated from Iran to Nebraska, they ended up buying a Mexican restaurant to operate. And naturally, the two cuisines started to meld at home.
Movida is an outgrowth of that. Or as his wife and Co-Owner Shima Marhamat explains, “We took A and B — and created C.”
My husband likes to joke that up until last year, I’d never ever eaten in Danville. Now, I’ve made the trek to this East Bay suburb three times in short order. This is what happens when you work on a cookbook, “East Bay Cooks” (Figure 1), all about East Bay restaurants, which will publish in September. And it’s what happens when a long-time restaurateur whom you’ve known for years invites you in as a guest a couple weeks ago to try a new restaurant he is consulting on.
Hoss Zare, late of the beloved Zare at Fly Trap in San Francisco, has known Proprietor Mehrasa Bagheri, a luxury residential and commercial developer, for years, as the East Bay resident used to cross the bridge regularly to frequent his restaurant.
“He’s like my big brother,” Bagheri says.
“I’m her big brother, her bodyguard, you name it,” Zare replies back with a laugh.
Consultant Hoss Zare and Owner Mehrasa Bagheri.
So when she decided to open her gem of a restaurant Albatross in December in a new building in downtown Danville, she knew she wanted Zare’s expertise as a consultant chef. Indeed, she has assembled quite an impressive team that includes Executive Chef Brian Bowen, who cooked with Chef Joseph Humphrey at both the Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena and Cavallo Point in Sausalito; and Pastry Chef Andrea Morgan, former head pastry chef for Chicago’s Mindy Segal and a member of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group.