Best Unexpected Food Find

Friday Night Persian Dinners at Woodminster Cafe

From the outside, Woodminster Cafe looks like your typical nondescript sandwich shop, tucked away in a tiny, nondescript shopping plaza. During the day, the cafe is a go-to spot for neighborhood folks who want a solid all-American burger or a garlicky chicken-salad sandwich. But on Friday evenings during the summer, from 5:00 to 7:30, the family that runs the restaurant serves up dreamy home-cooked Persian dinners. Whether you order a bright, vinegary Iranian salad; the falling-off-the-bone-tender whole lamb shank ($12.95); or one of the spectacular lamb stews ($11.95, alternating weekly between what the uninitiated might refer to simply as "the green one" — herby and fragrant with parsley — and "the red one," which is a delightful amalgamation of succulent eggplant and crispy potatoes), you really can't go wrong. The food is soulful and satisfying and just about the last thing you'd expect to find smack in the middle of the stodgy culinary wasteland that makes up most of the Oakland Hills. The dinners are a great takeout option, too, but call ahead to reserve your order even if you plan on dining in. The stews, in particular, tend to sell out before they've even started that night's dinner service.

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