Photo credit: Madison Freedle and Shiraz

Shiraz: a Premium Dining Experience in which You Will Encounter Fare You’ve Never Enjoyed Before 

Most of us are aware of and have experienced Indian fare, but how about a restaurant that offers the best of Indian, Pakistani, Persian and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine by an award-winning chef? The answer is Shiraz, and the chef is none other than Jainine Jaffer. 

Located at 2575 S. Decatur on the southwest corner of Sahara, Shiraz took over the Habib’s space, opening in May, 2018. The décor is much the same, with tile floor, cedar wood walls, large window, an industrial ceiling and a long bar with granite top, but I’m told there may be extensive changes in the coming months. 

Owner/Chef Jainine Jaffer, who is the newly-crowned 2020 Silver State Award recipient for “Best Female Chef,” is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Las Vegas, where she mastered the art of French cuisine and technique along with the ability to refine and expand her current versatile culinary skill set. Chef Jainine shared, “Being a chef was always in my blood. I’ve always been fascinated with being creative with food, and knew from the time I was a teenager that I would own my own restaurant.” As for her cuisine at Shiraz, she says, “It’s Indian-inspired, instead of traditional, and is a playful take on Indian seasonings and aromas. There are nuances of flavors and meats not typical of Indian, with more beef and seafood.” (For more on Chef Jainine see our Jan. 2019 issue  

Shiraz is one of the few restaurants in Southern Nevada that is halal, which like kosher-certified, follows strict guidelines, allows no pork and requires the humane slaughter of animals; but unlike kosher allows the consumption of any aquatic animals. The menu is quite varied, and as referenced above, there are seafood offerings, including shrimp masala—spicy marinated shrimp finished in a tomato-based curry; jumbo shrimp marinated in yogurt, carom seeds, herbs and spices; salmon with lemon-chive butter sauce; and Amritsari fish pakora with crispy fries (fish and chips). The meat dishes offered are mainly chicken, lamb, beef and a protein not found on many menus: goat, which is listed on the menu as mutton, with variations of korma (slow simmered in a rich sauce of yogurt, spices and nuts) and biryani (marinated and stewed in spices).

Vegetarians and vegans will find much to choose from here, with a large section of the menu offering the likes of bindhi masala (okra sautéed with cumin seeds and dry spice mix), palak aloo (spinach puree and potato simmered in a cream sauce) and bhagare baingan (baby eggplant tempered in a zesty curry of nutty spices).

As for my experience, I let Chef Jainine cook for me, and was quite happy I did, as everything she brought out was very much to our liking. We began with Persian appetizers of borani—sautéed eggplant with onion, a touch of herbs and garlic served with yogurt; and full hummus, which unlike traditional versions, is made from stewed fava beans instead of chickpeas. Our main courses were lamb shank made with Persian spices including saffron and cumin; mixed grill with tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, malai chicken tikka, beef seekh kebab and lamb chops; chelo kabob koobideh—ground filet mignon served with rice and charbroiled tomato; and my favorite of the day: mutton biryani—goat layered with rice—which Chef Jainine said is the restaurant’s 2nd highest best-selling dish. Our desserts Chef selected were kheer, her grandmother’s recipe, which is Indian rice pudding with rose-infused milk; and gulab jamun—similar to a doughnut hole, an Indian milk dumpling soaked in cardamom-flavored syrup and rolled in coconut.    

A full bar serves an extensive selection of vodka, brandy, single malt whiskey, bourbon and rum; wine from France, Italy, Napa, Australia, Chile and Germany; and Indian beers such as Old Monk 10,000 Super Beer, an 8% malt liquor.

I don’t say this all the time, but I can’t wait to return to Shiraz, as there is no doubt that the quality will be outstanding and I’ll be able to enjoy something I’ve never had before. Shiraz is open seven days a week for lunch from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and dinner from 5-10 p.m.