4 West Main Street
Northborough MA 01532
Blogger Bruce Tretter and I headed out for an enjoyable evening. And somehow we both got the concept of the restaurant wrong.
Somehow we both thought Zem Han was an Asian restaurant. It’s not. It’s a fabulous Mediterranean restaurant located in the former Tom's Eatin' and Drinkin' Place in Northborough. Follow 135 West and when the road meets West Main in Northborough you’ll be staring at the place. So let the record show, we were both wrong…
Entering the tastefully decorated restaurant we were quickly seated. It’s clear the staff is new and finding their groove, as they were somewhat tentative and often familiar when waiting on us.
The first thing we discovered is they haven’t quite received their liquor license yet. No problem, there’s a liquor store a quick walk away and we divided and conquered; Bruce ordered appetizers and I got some Merlot.
The menu offers a decent Mediterranean and Turkish selection. Bruce went with the Cold Appetizer Plate, a combination of hummus, haydari, eggplant salad, stuffed vine leaves, spinach dip and homemade labneh. While it was all good, the stuffed vine leaves were spectacular.
The Bruce’s hot appetizer was Pan Seared Calamari with vegetables (Kalamar Tava) - calamari, green peppers, sherry tomatoes, onion, garlic and fresh herbs with olive oil and white wine. The kitchen made a mistake and initially delivered a fried calamari (calamari, flour, egg and garlic.) We did sample the fried calamari and found it respectable, although the pan seared calamari was fabulous.
We were struggling to decide what to have for dinner, and asked what the chef would recommend. Our waiter said the kitchen was on the lower level, and we followed him to catch a glimpse of the kitchen. We were met by one of the owners, Hakan Zirh. He proudly described how they intend to hold cooking classes on the lower level after October, to show how to prepare some of the restaurant entrees. He also shared an experimental recipe they are working on….
We couldn’t decide what to have, when Hakan’s partner’s (Yuri Krasnov) wife Galina came by. She quickly asked for our preferences, and took care of the ordering for us. Upon her return, she shared this is Zirh’s first restaurant in the US, whereas the Krasnov’s are into lasers and travel, with the restaurant business being a new venture for the serial entrepreneurs.
Galina’s choice of lamb shank was fabulous. I personally generally don’t fancy lamb, although I seemed to be drawn to this entrée. The other meal was the Chicken in a Crock Bowl (Canakta Tavuk) - chicken breast with seasonal vegetables slowly baked in a rock dish topped mozzarella cheese, and served with rice.
My decaf cappuccino was just about a perfect way to end the evening, when Galina brought over Baklava - fine filo dough filled with walnuts, baked in oven and topped with a special syrup. Buttery and sweet, the baklava is made onsite by the chef.
Overall, Zem Han was a hit, someplace Bruce and I agreed we’ll both visit again. We left with leftover bags of our entrees and memories of an enjoyable evening.
Mon 4:40PM - 9:30PM
Tue-Sun 11:30AM – 9:30PM
Zem Han gets a GREEN LIGHT…go and enjoy.
About the RAG scale:
Green Light – Go and enjoy
Amber Light – Use caution
Red Light – Save your time and money