Dining Out


Iranian Dishes To Fill a Table

A table spread with sharable dishes at Joon
Written by Stephanie Ganz

The directive at Joon is clear: Fill the table. The dishes at this Iranian-inspired restaurant are meant to build on one another and, most importantly, to be shared. “My favorite thing about our restaurant is [that] people have the ability to mix and match what’s at the table and focus on building an experience,” explains Chris Morgan, DC-based Michelin-starred chef and co-owner of Joon. “I want my tables to be a full tablescape. You get to explore different regions of Iran as well as areas of Lebanon and Turkey, and that, for me, is really exciting.”

This journey of a meal begins in the aptly named “For the Table” section of the menu, where you’ll find ethereally silky hummus sprinkled with tangy sumac, rich and smoky babaganoush, and a cool, refreshing yogurt and cucumber dip called mast-o khiar. Here, you’ll also find sabzi khordan, a traditional Iranian plate of fresh herbs, feta, walnuts, and crisp radishes and cucumbers. It’s not a salad but rather an anchor to all the dishes on the menu, meant to stay on the table throughout the meal so diners can add different combinations of herbs and accoutrements to every bite.

Iranian dishes at Joon

If you’ve come expecting tahdig—the crispy crown of scorched rice that presents itself like a savory upside-down cake—you will not be disappointed; almost every dish is served with crunchy tahdig made with chelow (saffron-perfumed rice). If you’re ordering multiple dishes, swap one of the chelows for fava and dill-studded rice, for which there’s an optional chicken kabob add-on. Get it, too, for good measure.

Khoresh is a catch-all term for a type of slow-cooked Iranian stew with mountains of flavor. Of the half dozen varieties of khoresh on the menu, the qaliyeh khorma—mild, flaky barramundi swimming in a tahini-enriched sauce studded with sweet, chewy dates—is a wonderful place to start.

The never-ending parade of food and the relaxed but attentive service at Joon work in lockstep to establish a homey, familial tone, and Morgan says that’s exactly what he, co-owner Reza Farahani, and executive chef Najmieh Batmanglij had in mind. “I want people to feel like they’re at home where they can relax,” says Morgan. “I want the atmosphere to help people let their guard down, and I hope the food also does that.”

Can’t Miss at Joon

Prawn Kabob

Huge head-on shrimp are marinated for two days before hitting the grill, where they become plump and juicy. They’re served under a blizzard of fresh herbs and a bright, herbaceous qaliyeh mahi sauce.

Interiors at Joon

Kabob e-Torsh

Tender boneless ribeye is marinated in a kitchen cabinet of Persian spices, grilled to develop a little char, and served with sour cherry preserves and—like all of Joon’s kabobs—grilled tomatoes and onions.

Lamb Shoulder Platter

If you’re traveling with a group, drive the consensus toward this platter of meltingly tender lamb shoulder, which has been slathered with spices and cooked overnight. It’s served over Joon’s lavash, a pita-like bread that becomes a prize, enriched with lamb jus, all the better for scooping up the dates and apricots that dot the roast.

Joonam Joon Espresso Martini

Joon’s cocktail menu offers several Persian variations on the classics, including a daiquiri that pops with black lime and a sazerac sweetened with fig cordial—but our favorite riff is this cardamom-laced espresso martini, which is all you might be able to manage for dessert after such a hearty meal.

about this restaurant

  • Chef

    Najmieh Batmanglij

  • Address

    8045 Leesburg Pike Suite 120
    Vienna, Virginia

    • Iranian

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