A lengthy list of ingredients greets you on the front wall at Silk Road, a late 2016 addition to Poway's shopping center food scene. Three generations work the family business, led by a mother and daughter in the kitchen. They use a litany of herbs, spices, vegetables, and nuts to cook Persian and Mediterranean dishes from scratch. And they do so beautifully.
13538 Poway Road, Suite C, Poway
On the grandson's recommendation, I ordered one of the kebab platters, specifically a skewer's worth of chicken shish kebab. For about 12 bucks, the plate includes flatbread, a scoop of hummus, cilantro and jalapeño chutney, basmati rice, and Shirazi salad — a citrusy mix of Persian cucumber, tomatoes and red onions.
It also features "vegetables of the day splashed with tzatziki sauce." Which doesn't sound too exciting. Even — or especially — when your hear it's a sautéed stew of eggplant and tomato. But its earthy and fragrant spice blend, led by paprika and coriander, won me over in a big way. The eggplant was as soft as a cooked apple, sweet pepper and acids giving way to the tomato umami.
The chicken impressed me as well — its appealing sear marks had me at first sight, and the charry flavor lived up to expectations. But more than the tasty white meat, there was a comforting homestyle feel to the plate that succeeded on the whole. It felt good to get a wider balance of elements to the meal than the usual protein plus side dish for the price.
Silk Road isn't a large space, just a narrow storefront in a strip of eateries fronting the parking lot of a couple grocery stores, with a little patio seating. If there's any justice it will fill up fast when workers in Poway business parks break for lunch, and stay lively through dinner.