Parisa is one of those restaurants I pass buy on a regular basis, and I find myself talking aloud, telling me that I need to go into this restaurant more often. When one thinks of an idea, it doesn’t really sink in. The thought is there, but the action never occurs. This is why I say things aloud, so the idea can sink in, instead of wander throughout the ether of my mind.
At 317 Montgomery Street in Downtown Syracuse, Parisa sits on–in my opinion–one of the more interesting streets oft the city, beginning with the architecture as you stroll down the road. If you walk from the corner where Montgomery meets E. Washington, you’ll encounter several sights from City Hall, to the Onondaga Historical Association, to the YMCA, and the beautiful Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception stands proudly at the end. This street cannot be any more convenient for a Sunday; one can (in no particular order) go to mass, get in a workout, and then eat a hearty brunch. Montgomery Street is, also, a vital arm of vendors for the annual summer arts and crafts festival.
Parisa, which was opened last year by owner Peyman Pourpezeshk, is now co-owned by Chef Chance Bear. Chef Bear should be a familiar name around the area, especially if you pay attention to the media. If you aren’t from Syracuse, or simply don’t pay attention to media, Chef Bear was named the 2012 Chef of the Year by the Syracuse Chapter of the American Culinary Association. That’s kind of a big deal.
The restaurant, named after Mr. Pourpezeshk’s daughter, is eclectic in every sense of the word. The Middle Eastern style of the restaurant embraces traditional and new American culinary aspects, combining worlds to exhibit savory dishes. Chef Bear, switching the menus seasonally, has the ability to shine and show his skill with improvisation and lots of elbow room to experiment.
Which brings me to the menu. I went a Middle Eastern restaurant in Brooklyn not too long ago; however, it was long enough for me to not remember the name. However, my friends and I were going eat at this place for brunch, and the excitement of trying something new was more than an avid eater could for. Upon hearing Parisa had a Sunday brunch, I got that eater’s excitement that one looks forward to when anticipating something new. The brisk breeze of this past Sunday only pushed me to find shelter as quickly as possible. Finding parking on the one-way street which is Montgomery, it was easy to find a spot (especially since this past weekend sat in the middle of two family-and-friend-centered holidays.
On Parisa’s brunch menu, your favorite words pop out at you: egg, pancake, waffle, bacon, mushroom, fritta, cheese, and many others. However, when you see an option of bacon and Eggs Benedict with a shrimp cream sauce: yes, my friends, you stop and ponder. How about pot roast and home fries? Wait–does that option say New York strip steak? Yes, my friends it does. However, my eyes wandered to the Crème Brûlée French Toast.
Since I was by myself, I kept my camera, dying, and a good book of poetry in hand. I sat at the bar as couples to groups enjoyed their meals and more patrons soon entered to join the rest. The wall-to-wall exposed brick adds to the warmth of the atmosphere, protecting you from the frigid outdoors. Through the stained glass and large-paned windows, the sunlight skids across the hardwood floor in thin strips, mimicking flickering candlelight projections. I don’t want to give away too much of the tangible atmosphere, because I want to write more about this place in the future.
The Crème Brûlée French Toast, shown below, came out asking me if I had brought my appetite. I dressed the four sandwiches, stuffed with bacon and sausage, with a nice drizzle of maple syrup. I told my server to not hold it against me, because I was going to eat all of this; she smiled, and told me that she had this earlier, but the French toast was stuffed with fruit. Cannot complain about having options! The bread was very light and had a very creamy flavor and texture. The bacon was perfectly cooked, parts firm and other parts crunchy, leaving me wanting to eat more just for the bacon texture surprises.
Keep your eyes peeled for more Parisa articles on this site. I had my first taste, starting out with the most important meal of the day, and I’m hungry for more.
Please visit Parisa’s website at http://parisarestaurant.com/. Like them on Facebook. Actually, better yet, like them in reality. All you have to do now, I ask, is repeat Parisa five times aloud. You need to let the name sink in, because you look like you could use a great reason to get out of the house on a cold, Syracuse winter’s morning.
Christopher Malone, a life-long resident of Syracuse, is a contributing writer to Project Rock City. An avid writer and aspiring novelist, he feels more than comfortable promoting Central New York. Chris can be found on Facebook and Twitter (@Chris___Malone). Feel free to enjoy his other blogs at http://www.sporadicattic.com/ (fiction) and http://theinfiniteabysses.