Yasmine Firouz has opened Cafe Anar in a strip mall space formerly occupied by Moustache Cafe near the former Prime Factory Outlet mall in Morrisville. Firouz, who comes to the Triangle from San Francisco by way of Washington, DC, has given the space a makeover with new tables and chairs and walls painted in warmly inviting hues of red and gold. Full table service is offered in the compact, casual dining room (and, weather permitting, on the small patio at the end of the building).
Inspired by the foods of her parents’ native Iran and Afghanistan, and broadening her palette to span the region from Turkey to Turkmenistan, the chef bills her menu as “Mediterranean and Central Asian.” On the plate, that translates to a varied offering that runs the gamut from hummus to kebabs (chicken, lamb and an Iranian riff on ground beef called kebab-e-koobideh) to Persian classics such as aush-be-maas, an herb-laced soup of vegetables, beans and noodles with a tangy yogurt-based topping called kashk.
A handful of salads, pressed pita sandwiches and the rosewater-scented dessert pastry baghlava (aka baklava) round out the streamlined initial offering. The chef has already begun working on expanding the menu at Cafe Anar, which promises to be a welcome addition for vegetarians and health-conscious non-vegetarians alike (all meats are halal).