This page is a sub page
in the website for Mirah Ammal--
belly dancer and instructor.
Shiraz Fire Roasted Cuisine
6042 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis
Belly Dancer Schedule: October, 2009
Shiraz features authentic Persian cuisine and belly dancing on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Come join us for an evening of wonderful food and fun!
I've heard friends and strangers alike rave about the wonderful, authentic food at Shiraz, especially the stews and some of the other meaty entrees. But what about vegetarians? Given the meaty focus of many Persian dishes, is there anything for them to enjoy? I am pleased to say that as of March 2008, Shiraz has added vegetarian entrees to their menu including favorites such as KouKou Sabzy, (listed below), plus vegetarian interpretations of Persian classics Gormeh Sabzy (a stew made with red beans, lime, and fresh herbs) and Gheimeh Badamjan (an eggplant dish made with yellow peas and a tangy sauce. Plus, there are several hearty appetizers and soups that are vegetarian as well!
I and several vegetarian friends have tried most of the vegetarian options on the menu. Here are some of our favorites:
By way of disclosure and guidance, the above recommendations come from a strict lacto-ovo vegetarian of 15 years. That is to say, my diet includes no seafood or other animal fats and products for which the animal must be killed; however I *do* eat certain egg and dairy products. If you are vegan or have other dietary restrictions, you may wish to call ahead to learn more about the menu.
The presence of raks sharki or "belly dancing" performance at a Persian restaurant may be a bit confusing for some people...here we'll attempt to answer a few common questions we're asked about belly dancing in general and dancing at a Persian restaurants.
Are Persians Arabs? No. Persians (mostly from what is modern day Iran) belong to a different linguistic and ethnic group. Though many Persians speak some Arabic, their primary language is typically Farsi or another regional language.
Wait...but isn't belly dance Arabic in origin? Well, you could start a fist fight by making that statement in front of a room full of Greek or Turkish dancers (every group claims it started with their own people it seems), but it's probably fair to say that *most* of the belly dance movement and music you see and hear--especially in restaurants in this part of the country--is of Arabic origin or derivation.
So is Persian dance the same as belly dance or traditional Arabic women's dance? Persian classical dance is quite different from classic Arabic dance. In very broad, generalized terms, it is much more concentrated in the upper body, less in the hips and torso. It also has more of a "balletic" feel. Persian music and rhythms are generally very different from the Arabic music and rhythms that accompany traditional Arabic dance.
Then why have belly dance at a Persian restaurant? Though Persian and Arabic classical dance and music are vastly different, their popular cultures have influenced one another greatly! Middle Eastern artists have borrowed from the Persians for many years, and in the last several decades, many Iranians have enjoyed popular music and film from Egypt and the Middle East as well. Many Persians appreciate the beauty of "belly dance" and enjoy having dancers at parties and other events...and when the joy and spirit of the moment moves them, they have some wonderful dance moves of their own!
So is all of the music you use Arabic? Most of the music we use for the belly dance sets at the restaurant is indeed either Arabic, instrumental, or Arabic-inspired because that is the music best suited to the dance. However, sometimes the dancers find and incorporate some Iranian/Farsi language music with Arabic-fusion influences that work with belly dance.
So...belly dance...is that, erm, family-friendly? ABSOLUTELY! Some of our biggest fans are little kids and grandmothers! Raks sharki is an art form. It is a traditional women's dance passed down through generations, and it is a beautiful and healthy way for a woman's body to move. Though it can be flirtatious, powerful, dramatic, and sensual, it is not sexual. This is not a dance of seduction--it is a dance of expression and musical interpretation. Children love the brightly colored costumes and the festive music, and our shows are appropriate for audiences of all ages. We are typically happy to (at the appropriate time, at the dancer's invitation to avoid prop mishaps!) invite children up to dance with us as well.
Is it ok to tip the dancer? And if so, how? Yes--tips, though of course not required, are very much appreciated. Some people like to tip the dancer in her costume. If you wish to do this, you can place the tip in the belt/skirt of her costume on the side (at her hip) or in her sleeve/gauntlet if she has one. (Please, no tipping in the bra or in the front of the skirt as this can be embarrassing for everyone.) It is also acceptable to hand your tip to the dancer (she may, however, place it in her costume herself as she probably won't have a pocket. :-) You can also leave a tip on her stage/platform, or give it to your server with the instruction that it is for the dancer. Another practice common in the Middle East is the "money shower". When the dancer is on her stage/platform dancing, a member of your party can approach her with several dollar bills and "shower" her with them.
Getting to Shiraz During the Crosstown Construction (updated 9/30/09)
Shiraz is located between 60th and 61st Street on Nicollet Ave. in south Minneapolis. Construction on the Crosstown project has been very hard on local businesses in this area, so we encourage you to support small, locally-owned businesses like Shiraz!
Sept 30 2009 update: At this time, the 35W exits and entrances at Diamond Lake Rd. are reopened. The Lyndale exits from NORTHBOUND 35W (from Bloomington) and EASTBOUND 62 (from Edina) are now open, but the southbound/westbound exit at Lyndale remains closed. The southbound 35W exit at 60th street is also open, and for the timebeing, Portland Avenue ramps are open in all directions. Please be aware, conditions change rapidly as the construction is ongoing and MNDOT is scurrying to reach certain project milestones before snow season, and signage is often sub-par.
Coming southbound on I-35W (from Downtown Minneapolis or points north): 60th Street Exit
If you're headed southbound from Downtown Minneapolis, and points north, take the 60th Street Exit (a right exit, first exit after Diamond Lake and before the Hwy. 62 bend.) Turn right a the end of the exit ramp. At the second stoplight (Nicollet Ave.--60th Street ends) turn left. Shiraz will be on the right, just past Mr. Tire and before 61st Street. (It is next to a restaurant called Tailgate that has a pickup truck mounted on above the front door.)
Coming westbound on Hwy 62 (from Highland Park, the airport, Mendota Heights, and points east or south. Also good for south suburbs coming north on Hwy 77/Cedar):
If you're coming north on 77 from Bloomington/Eagan or coming west on 62 from St. Paul, Mendota, etc., take 62 westbound to the Portland Ave. exit. At Portland, turn left onto Portland, go south (over hwy 62) to 64th Street (there is a stoplight on 64th.) Turn right onto 64th, and follow it to Nicollet Ave. Take a right at Nicollet and go three blocks to the first light (61st). Shiraz and Tailgate share the parking lots on your left between 61st and 60th.
Coming eastbound on Hwy 62 (from Edina and points west):
(NOTE: Lyndale Exit is now open, but I have not driven it yet post construction to confirm precise driving directions. these directions avoid Lyndale.) Follow signage to stay with 62 past the 35W merge, and take the Portland Ave. exit. Turn left onto Portland (going over Hwy. 62). Turn left again at 60th Street (stoplight, SuperAmerica on the left), and follow 60th Street under 35W, past the Cub foods. At the second stoplight (Nicollet Ave.--60th Street ends) turn left. Shiraz will be on the right, just past Mr. Tire and before 61st Street. (It is next to a restaurant called Tailgate that has a pickup truck mounted on above the front door.)
Alternate route: If you miss the signage to stay on 62 and end up on northbound 35W, don't panic--just take the Diamond Lake Road exit. Turn left at the top of the exit ramp and cross the bridge over the highway. You'll pass the Russian Art Museum (on the other side of the bridge) and come to a light at Nicollet. Take a left. Proceed about 7 blocks south on Nicollet and Shiraz will be on your right (you'll pass Bobby and Steve's at 58th and a Cub Foods at 60th. It's between 60th and 61st.)
Coming Northbound on I-35W (from Bloomington, Burnsville, and points south and southwest):
Follow 35W northbound through the merge with westbound 62. Stay right and and take the Portland Ave. exit. Turn left onto Portland (going over Hwy. 62). Turn left again at 60th Street (stoplight, SuperAmerica on the left), and follow 60th Street under 35W, past the Cub foods. At the second stoplight (Nicollet Ave.--60th Street ends) turn left. Shiraz will be on the right, just past Mr. Tire and before 61st Street. (It is next to a restaurant called Tailgate that has a pickup truck mounted on above the front door.)