Good eats on a student budget

By Justin Colman

When walking main street of downtown Rochester, three restaurants stand out: Rojo Mexican Bistro, Kruse and Meur and Rochester Chop House.

All are popular spots, but continue a little further south and you’ll find Shehrzad Mediterranean Grill. Open for just over a year, Shehrzad is making a name for itself.

If you’re a picky eater or a self-proclaimed foodie, you’ll love what you find there.


Relaxing atmosphere

Shehrzad’s interior is spacious. The space between tables allows you to engage in conversation with your party without having to worry about your privacy being invaded.

The décor is clean and modern with a classic Mediterranean twist. The main room is colored in natural hues —making dining there a relaxing experience. Low lighting also offers a laid-back mood. The high, bare ceiling is adorned with round, clothed lights and the foyer offers an ethnic taste with a mosaic-styled ceiling.

An open layout allows a brief glimpse into the kitchen, and cleanliness is evident throughout the entire establishment.


Welcoming staff

The staff at Shehrzad is committed to their job of presenting quality food and service to their customers. Not only is quality of highest importance, but presentation is mastered in each dish as well.

The staff is ready with suggestions for those not familiar with the cuisine style. Friendliness, communication and care are all an obvious trend in employees.

Gus Mohammad, owner, expressed his desire to get OU students into the restaurant.

“I place flyers at the school and now I started the discount … I want to (create a standing) with them (students),” he said.


Unique food

While the menu in it’s entirety offers plenty of quality food at a great value, there is one deal that seems to be bringing the customers in again and again: the all-you-can-eat buffet, a rather new component of the restaurant. Priced at $9.99, the buffet even includes desert choices.

Mohammad noted that the buffet was introduced last month. Since then, he said, it has become a popular choice among customers.

“It’s slow early, but (soon) we’ll be packed. At dinner they’ll be packing in too,” he said, crediting the buffet.

With dishes that include lamb and chicken shawarma, cream chop and eggplant lasagna, you’re given plenty of options.

For vegetarians, you do not need to worry about the lack of meat-free dishes. Shehrzad provides plenty of vegetarian options to keep you satisfied. Dishes include vegetarian cream chop, eggplant lasagna, a variety of salads, hummus, baba ghanoush and falafel.

But those are merely the choices given with the buffet. The food itself deserves praise.

One of the dishes served at the buffet is eggplant lasagna. Typically this dish is made with a simple tomato sauce, but the Shehrzad version instead use slices of fresh tomato, giving it a clean, home-made taste and appeal.

A simple touch of garlic gives the chicken stir-fry it’s unique flavor. Working well alongside the tender chicken and peppers, the outcome is a variety of flavors that do not cancel each other out, but play off one another perfectly, creating a full-flavor, satisfying meal.

With such quality, typically comes high prices. This is not the case with Shehrzad. The restaurant offers sandwiches from $2.99 to $6.99.

Quantity is not overlooked with these prices either — each plate is adorned with a healthy helping.

Shehrzad is also a good place to eat if you’re looking for a deal.

On Mondays and Fridays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., you can get any sandwich with fries and a soft drink, as well as a choice of soup or salad, for just $6.99.

Shehrzad also has an offer for OU students — present your student ID and get 10% off your meal.



There is no meal to go wrong with, but the chicken shawarma with lemon oregano is a must-have.

Being such a strong flavor, it is easy for lemon to battle with other flavors in the dish. With the chicken shawarma however, just the right amount is achieved, giving the dish a balanced flavor.


Contact copy editor Justin Colman via email at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @TheJustinColman