McLean / Persian / $$
The branzino is market price. You know that means it won’t be cheap. The whole fish was $35 when I tried it, and I still call it a bargain. That’s because there are few seafood dishes as splendid in NoVA. The meaty, moist white fish is colored a rich brown with sweet-and-sour pomegranate molasses. Like an Everlasting Gobstopper, each bite is slightly different. One may sing with saffron; another zaps the tongue with appealing acid.
Pair it with shirin polo, buttery basmati rice bejeweled with candied carrots, orange peel, barberries and cranberries, almonds, and saffron-glazed pistachios. The fruity, nutty side dish only serves to amplify the oversized flavors of the fish, or any other grilled goods. The lamb loin fillet in saffron cream is another stunner. Even vegans can take advantage of the 100 percent plant-based version of the koobideh kebab.
The saffron ice cream should end every meal at Amoo’s. It’s so popular that it has spawned a business of its own, Kinrose Creamery. Take some home, along with what are sure to be ample leftovers from big, aromatic plates with portions that just won’t quit.
See this: The tiled floors and paintings of Persian life set a casual scene.
Eat this: Kashk bademjan, branzino, saffron ice cream
Service: Chef Sebastian Oveysi’s father, Masoud, presides over the dining room; if he doesn’t greet you with a “God bless you,” you haven’t been to Amoo’s.
When to dine here: You’re seeking a relatively healthy flavor explosion without too many bells and whistles.