Best Fast Snack 


In the same corner building as the late, lamented Sakura -- that family restaurant supreme, with three generations serving loyal customers for decades -- is another family enterprise just as unique, and just as likely to attract a fanatic following. Zand is more than a deli -- call it an Iranian immersion course. The store packs in foodstuffs from all over the Near East, so homesick Mediterranean folk can find their favorite brands. The Zand family makes four varieties of baklava by hand -- Persian, Greek, Turkish, and Kataf (Arabic) -- and stocks six other popular imported brands. The deli fare is also homemade: hummus, koo koo, cotelette, yogurt cucumber dip, tabbouleh, and more. But forget sweets and pita-fillers: We're talking about what to do when you're tired and peckish. The Zands make tea the old-fashioned way, with a large scoop of loose leaves brewed into a super-strong infusion in a small silver pot. The pot sits on top of a samovar; when you order tea, you get a glass of steaming hot water, into which the infusion is poured. Hefty and dark, it's a perfect accompaniment to homemade dolmas, tasty little bites at half the price of usual deli dolmas that aren't half as good. Tables inside and out invite you to rest your feet, and the Arabic music will soon have you humming.

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