Restaurant Review: Kabob on the Cliff
Dine in this Rutherford hot spot for a taste of Persian flavor and hospitality.
There are two certainties when I visit my best friend’s home in Harrington Park: I’ll receive her family’s amazing hospitality, and her dear mother will feed me meats and stews from her native Iran that are flavorful beyond imagination. And it’s not a surprise that the folks at Kabob On the Cliff in Rutherford replicate the same Persian welcome and home cooking for their customers.
Those are the hallmarks at each of the Kabob restaurants (the owners also have eateries in Cliffside Park and Ridgewood), and South Bergenites have been soaking up that atmosphere since the third location opened in Rutherford last fall. The menu features a range of meat dishes that’ll make any carnivore’s mouth water as well as options to stuff the belly of a vegetarian.
On a recent visit, my dining companion and I started with a pair of appetizers: Falafel and Kashke Bademjan. Each of the five falafel pieces—balled and fried chickpeas seasoned with garlic and Middle Eastern spices—was moist and toasty, and even more divine when dipped in the accompanying yogurt sauce or the Kashke Bademjan. The latter dish, a mashed eggplant and yogurt mix, is perfect for dipping or just as good when eaten by the forkful.
Though listed on the menu as an appetizer, an order of Tahdig (served with a choice of stew) could easily make for an ideal entree. Tahdig is one of the most challenging Persian rice dishes to make, as it requires precise heat, timing and ingredients (saffron gives it the eye-popping color) to create the crispy golden layer of rice at the bottom of the pot. Kabob’s chefs earn high marks for their version, which we had served with Ghormeh Sabzi, a stew featuring a luscious blend of cubed beef, red beans, parsley, spinach and coriander.
A trip to Kabob On the Cliff isn’t complete without trying one of their signature skewered meat plates. You’ll get the best of two worlds with the Chicken Soltani: In addition to rice and salad, the dish comes with a juicy grilled chicken breast skewer and a Koobideh kabob (tender chopped beef, lamb and onion). Sprinkle on the accompanying yogurt sauce (similar to the “white sauce” offered at Halal carts and stands in New York City) to enhance the flavor of the meat. My friend dined on the Salmon Kabob, which also came with rice, salad and roasted tomato. The fish was lightly charred and flaked apart beautifully when cut with a fork.
Diners have the option of ordering kabobs as a sandwich. Other meat choices include Cornish hen, shrimp and lamb chops. Gyros and falafel wraps are also available.
We ended our meal on a sweet note, enjoying an order of honey-coated Baklava with a hint of rosewater and Sholeh Zard, a zesty rice pudding with saffron and almonds.
Reservations are recommended, as you can expect a full house—in addition to great food and service—at all Kabob On the Cliff locations.
Kabob On the Cliff, 66 Park Ave., Rutherford, 201.933.0900, kabobonthecliff.com