Photo of Qaymeh Khoresh courtesy of Vintage78
Photo of Qaymeh Khoresh courtesy of Vintage78

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One of the hallmarks of Persian cuisine is its fragrance. When you enter a restaurant like Vintage78, coming to Dupont Circle this spring, you’re hit with wafts of saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, and coriander. “One of the misconceptions is that our food is hot spicy,” explains Chef Maziar Farivar. “We don’t use a lot of heat in the food, but a lot of aromatics, a lot of herbs and seasoning.”

Maziar and his brother, Shahab Farivar, are partnering once again to open a restaurant in D.C. They’re also behind Peacock Cafe, which has operated in Georgetown serving American bistro fare since 1991. Vintage78 will be more personal for the brothers, who came to the U.S. in 1978, hence the name.

“Our cuisine is really underrepresented considering all the different ethnic foods that are available,” Maziar says. “We’ve been thinking about doing this for years, and we’ve finally put the concept together.”

They’re making modest renovations to the former Scion space at 2100 P St. NW because they want it to retain its lived-in feel. The modern, 3,000-square-foot restaurant seats 75 people in the dining rooms and about 28 guests in the bar. There will also be covered patio seating.

“We decided to embrace the idea of what we had inherited and highlight that,” Maziar says, noting that they’ve added touches of reclaimed wood they sourced from a house built in 1908. “As you come in, hopefully you’ll feel like you’re getting a big hug from the restaurant.”

When it opens in mid- to late-May, Vintage78 will serve lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. The menu will feature a variety of stuffed vegetables, meatballs, stews (khoresh), and kebabs. Initially the brothers wanted to skip kebabs on the menu to separate themselves from the various kebab houses in town. “I tried to resist putting them off the menu, but we’re going to do an upscale version of it with great meat and chicken,” Maziar says.

To pair with the food, Vintage78 will serve a full wine list featuring some selections from lesser known wine producing regions near Iran and a selection of cocktails whose ingredients mirror the cuisine including saffron, pomegranate, pistachio syrup, cardamom, and allspice.

Vintage78, 2100 P St. NW;