Shiraz rules the Tech Center's Middle Eastern cuisine scene

The southern I-25 corridor has not been known for its proliferation of fantastic eateries -- but as Laura Shunk noted earlier this year, things are looking up lately, and Shiraz is one of many good spots we've found in the Tech Center.

A steady trickle of customers comes through the door during lunchtime, keeping the dining room full enough to create a low buzz of conversation yet still uncrowded enough to feel intimate. Although the menu includes plenty of meat dishes, Shiraz also offers some vegetarian (and vegan) dishes.

Pictured above is the vegetarian plate, which includes tabbouleh, hummus, falafel, dolma, something described only as "eggplant dish" and baba ghanouj. The eggplant dish was available as an appetizer, too.

It turned out to be roasted eggplant topped with creamed garlic and a blend of sauteed mint -- not vegan-friendly (order it without the cream), but suitable for vegetarians. It's worth trying either on the platter or as an appetizer: The savory roasted eggplant was sweet and tender, almost melting in the mouth.

Other dishes were just as good. The tabbouleh was fresh, with a high tomato-to-bulgur ratio, and the hummus, baba ghanouj and chickpea tagine were all first-rate. At $14.99, the platter is a bit steep for lunch (there's also a veggie kabob with saffron rice available), but it's big enough to split, especially if you order an appetizer -- the hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, dolmas and baba ghanouj are all available as starters Or take advantage of the falafel and hummus lunchtime sandwich specials.

For more information, call 303-792-5000.

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