I was in Iran in 1973 and 1974. I did not know any local families and so, my dining experiences were limited to the offering in the local restaurants. They say that the best Iranian cooking is always going to be in the homes. Thus, I did not get an idea of the breadth and variety of Iranian cuisine.
Of course, now in Houston we have excellent (with a capital E) representation with Avesta, Garson, Bijan, Kasra, Cafe Caspian, and the rest (et.al.).
The places that I dined at were very utilitarian. Simple dishes of perfectly grilled meats and perfectly cooked rice and flat breads. Delicious. But simple fare for the office worker taking a break for lunch.
And I loved the purity of these simple kabab dishes. The chelo kabab, chenjeh, juju, kubideh, vaziri, negini.
Darband opened in Houston in 1986. And it has been one of my favorite places to eat, now going on almost 30 years. I getting an order of kubideh with grilled tomatoes on the side. And I love to dump a big old heaping of the spice known as sumac on my kabob.
Now, don't worry about not knowing what is what. Darband has photos of all of their dishes to make it easy for you to order. First timers may want to opt for a simple chelo kabab with bread.
The Darband. The name comes from a place near Tehran. Near to the mountains. And the weather is nice there. This makes it a perfect place for people of the town to go there for walks and picnics.