Chef Ali Mesghali launched Rumi’s Kitchen in 2006 in Sandy Springs. Since then, he’s expanded the Persian restaurant to Alpharetta and Washington, D.C., and now, Midtown. Located in the forefront of Colony Square, the modern, 5,900-square-foot space—designed by the Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry—will serve Middle Eastern favorites from its other locations, plus a large selection of unique (yet traditional) items.
“I always wanted to [introduce] other food, but the chefs are too busy at the other locations—they do 600 covers a night and don’t have the equipment needed,” Mesghali says. “At this [location], we built the kitchen to set up for these new dishes.”
While the other Rumi’s restaurants focus on proteins and rice, Rumi’s at Colony Square features a dedicated vegetable section of the menu. This includes new items like charred romaine with sekanjehbin (a sweet and sour syrup), chermoula eggplant with date molasses, and corn “ribs” wth black seed dukkah and jalapeno butter.
Four types of hummus are available, ranging from smoked salmon to lamb merguez to green tahini. New appetizers include Castelvetrano olives from Southern Iran with pomegranate paste and walnuts, and Turkish flatbread (called lahmacun) with lamb or chicken. New entrees like braised lamb neck and duck Fesenjoon were requested by Mesghali’s Iranian friends.
“In each part of Iran, the food is a little different,” he says.
For those dining with a group, pomegranate short rib can be ordered for table, as it serves three to four people. Likewise beverage director Julian Goglia has created a couple “cocktails for the table,” including the Pir o Mast made with Calumet Farms Single Rack 14-year-old bourbon, oleo, black lemon bitters, albaloo (sour cherry), and saffron.
“They’re classic cocktails with a Persian twist,” says Stephen Kaplan, a partner in Rumi’s close to the bar program. “Julian makes amazing-tasting drinks that relate to the cuisine, using dried lime, barberries, and mahlab powder.”
Garnishes are designed to attract attention. Picture a mai tai with a burning lime on top and other beverages topped with sugar disks with a whirling dervish on printed them.
Of the 14 alcoholic cocktails on the menu, 11 are new, while three have been reconfigured from other locations. There’s also seven nonalcoholic drinks and three dessert cocktails, including a boozy date and walnut milkshake.
“The wine list features boutique, natural, biodynamic growers across the world with an emphasis on regions that pair well with Persian cuisine, such as Spain and Portugal,” Kaplan says. “We also have a Middle Eastern section highlighting Lebanese and Israeli wines.”
Both local and European beers are available, too.
The 160-seat restaurant includes a 1,500-square-foot patio with a chimney fireplace. Inside, expect plants, flowers, and many windows.
“It’s very open. It feels like you’ve gone into Old Persia,” Mesghali says. “This is the most beautiful restaurant we’ve built. We’ve outdone ourselves.”
That’s something he hopes will become a pattern when he opens Rumi’s in Houston at the end of the year, and maybe—although no lease has been signed—a modern Israeli spot in Buckhead.
“It would be similar to Bavel—they have the best food in Los Angeles,” he says.