Nick's Picks: Chortke House of Kabob

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Photo by Nicholas Abreu

The husband and wife team of Yasha Aghdasi and Rana Rezaei are giving Rochester’s culinary scene a facelift. They own the newly opened Chortke House of Kabob on Goodman Street, Rochester’s only Iranian restaurant. Within the next six months, Aghdasi and Rezaei’s influence will grow as they open a 32,000-square-foot prep kitchen on Main Street as well as four more restaurants in Greece, Victor, Henrietta, and Chili.

Aghdasi and Rezaei, who both originally hail from Iran but met in Rochester, believe that the local dining community can accomodate Chortke’s growth.

“Different cultures and diverse food have been around here for a long time,” says Aghdasi. “Rochester is a foodie place—if you serve good food, people will love it.”

While Iranian fare may be unfamiliar to locals, the assembly line-style ordering at Chortke is very recognizable. For a base layer, Chortke offers salad, rice, half salad and half rice, or a wrap. Then, customers choose from a kebab of perfectly marinated, deeply flavorful, tender pieces of beef, chickenwhich is available with varying degrees of spiceor lamb. For vegetarians, Chortke also offers kebab style seasonal vegetables or falafel. Each meals comes with grilled tomatoes and a four-ounce side of cucumber yogurt. Additional sides include eggplant yogurt, hummus, eggplant dip, and stuffed grape leaves.

Aghdasi and Rezaei believe the fast casual model will allow diners a quick, affordable, and comfortable entrance point into their cooking.

Chrotke’s Village Gate location, which without much press or any advertising already attracts a steady stream of customers during lunch and dinner hours, is an early indication that Iranian cuisine has a future in Rochester.

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