Rumi’s Kitchen, a small chain of opulent Persian restaurants originally launched in Atlanta, has made its way to Houston — and the new restaurant is offering an upscale ambiance for modern Iranian cuisine.
Named after the famed 13th-century Persian poet and theologian Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, the newest addition to Post Place (1801 Post Oak Boulevard) is helmed by Iranian chef and co-owner Ali Mesghali, who crafts a menu of creative riffs on classics. The Wagyu Zabuton Kabob builds upon a traditional kabob, infusing top-notch beef with Urfa chili spice rub and grilled shishito peppers, while roasted corn ribs, a common snack available at several local restaurants, are reimagined with black seed dukkah and jalapeno butter. Other highlights include a standout charred Chilean seabass; a three-bone Pomegranate Short Rib large enough to serve three to four people; the Ghormeh Sabzi, a scallion and beef stew made with red kidney bean, dried lime, and saffron basmati; and the creamy Kashk Badenjoon eggplant dip.
Diners can also expect cocktails infused with Persian flavors, including the Sabzi Tonica, a Mediterranean riff on a classic gin and tonic made with dragoncello, and the cognac- and whiskey-based Maydan that blends black lime, Persian tea bitters, and saffron, plus a well-rounded wine list that spans regions around with select bottles of red from Lebanon and Israel.
Like its other locations, Rumi’s Houston outpost aims to exude the warmth of a Persian home with several nods to Iranian culture, according to a release. Atlanta firm the Johnson Studio designed the restaurant, incorporating large windows to allow in ample natural light, an open kitchen framed with traditional turquoise tiles, and a collection of photographs by famed Iranian artist Shadi Ghadirian. Diners who look up can also see a nod to Sufi traditions on the ceiling, where 15 light fixtures are assembled to resemble the skirt of a whirling dervish, a member of the Islam faith that often performs a dancing ritual in traditional garb.
Mesghali opened the first Rumi in Atlanta nearly 20 years ago, later teaming up with co-owner Stephen Kaplan to offer two additional outposts in Atlanta, and its recently debuted locations in Washington, D.C., and Houston. Since then, Rumi’s has become an Atlanta dining institution, offering Persian cuisine in an elegant environment.
Houston was the natural next move for the restaurant, according to Mesghali, who says he, like many other out-of-town restaurateurs, was drawn to Houston because of the city’s diversity, its international community, and the vibrant food scene.
Rumi’s Kitchen is now open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, from noon until 11 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon until 10 p.m. on Sundays. Reservations are open through the restaurant’s website and via Opentable.