Saturday Date Night: August 14, 2010 @ 7:15 PM
I remember reading a very harsh review on Yelp in 2008 citing "This restaurant is not going to make it." The more I wanted to make it to this place (pun intended) to check out this restaurant, form my own opinion and support this neighborhood place. Two years later, I Squared has prevailed and proven the critic wrong.
(Congratulations, I Squared!)
Last night, my fiance and I finally made it to I Squared. This cute, small, contemporary-designed, minimalist Iranian-Italian restaurant has added more diversity to the plethora of international cuisines on College Avenue in North Oakland. Thai, Japaneses, Italian, Californian, etc. are within a "skip and hop" away from each other.
We started off with GRILLED EGGPLANT DIP: grilled eggplant served with warm pita triangles drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with black sesame seeds. As soon as we bit into a pita bread piled high with egglant, the flavors just exploded in our mouths! There was nothing bland with this dish but surprisingly pleasing to the palate! Delicious!
I never had Iranian food before. Although there is a choice between Iranian or Italian at I Squared, I opted for FESENJOON: a traditional Iranian stew of blended walnuts with pomegranate paste, Iranian seasoning, with chicken and served with saffron over basmati rice. It was very, very sweet but I liked it! Not the dish for my guy, though.
He chose BARG KABAAB: one skewer of tender beef fillet also served with basmati rice and grilled tomatoes. I had a bite of this tender beef and it was also surprisingly very flavorful with strong beef flavors. Very good!
I Squared offers a pleasing menu of choices that are easy to decipher. My guy described the food as good "but not enough." The portions seem small but left us full and satisfied. The prices are among the most reasonable I've ever encountered for dinner with main dishes priced at mostly $12!
Our server was very nice and friendly. She made our dining experience relaxed and enjoyable. I am planning to go back to try more of their offerings.
Tab: $51 including tax, tip and a Diet Coke
FOODIE GIRL'S RATINGS: 4.5 Stars (Flavor Explosion!)
Decor/Ambiance: 4 Stars
Service: 5.5 Stars
Portions: 3 Stars
Value: 4 Stars (Very affordable at $12 per dinner entree.)
0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Very disappointing but there it has some good things to offer.
3 Stars: It is okay but do not expect much. I will still return.
4 Stars: I like it! I will be singing your praises!
5 Stars: I will be dreaming of you at night!
6 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)