Café Nadery in The New Yorker

by Louisa on January 27, 2014

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Last week I was on the phone with my cousin chatting about her recent trip to Iran. She spent the whole time in Tehran, visiting family. One day, she told me, she took the metro–yes, there is a metro in Tehran, I didn’t know either!–from the Northern end of the city to the center. She wanted to visit a café where she used to spend time as a young woman, and that she hadn’t visited in decades. My ears perked up.

“What’s the name of the café?” I asked.

“Oh, it’s a really old place called Café Naderi. We used to go there for ice cream and coffee,” she said, sounding confused as to why I’d want to know the name of some café in a country I’ve never been to.

I couldn’t wait to tell her I’d been hearing about the place for nearly a year, “Yeah, I know all about it! I helped open a place called Café Nadery in New York, it’s an homage to the original in Tehran!”

The timing of our conversation was ironic, because this excellent review of Café Nadery (note the use of a “y” instead of an “i” to differentiate the name from the original in Tehran) was just published in the Tables for Two column in The New Yorker. I could tell from her voice that my cousin, who lives in Orange County, CA, couldn’t quite believe that what I was saying was true, so I sent her the story to prove that yes, the legacy of that special café, which was explained to me as the Les Deux Magots of Tehran, lives on in New York.

I had the honor of designing the menu for Café Nadery when it opened back in the summer, training their cooks to make a mix of traditional Persian dishes, and some new creations inspired by Silk Road flavors and ingredients. But it’s not just the food that makes Nadery so special. Nadery is a little pocket of Tehran in New York City. They hold performances of Persian music, political talks, and poetry readings, among other events. There is art by Iranians and Iranian Americans throughout the restaurant. They even show soccer matches of Team Melli, the Iranian national team, on a big screen!

I’m so proud to have helped shape Café Nadery. When I go to Iran this year, you can bet that the original Café Naderi is on my short list of places to visit. Maybe I’ll bring the review!

Café Nadery

16 W. 8th Street, New York, NY, 10011, 212 260-5407

 

Photograph by Malú Alvarez, courtesy of The New Yorker.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

WaikikiPersian January 29, 2014 at 03:48

O. . em. . .gee. . .I am getting emotional! I just found you on the intertubes of information about 20 minutes ago! Loved your google chat thing. And please, greetings to your father. As a child, on our way to Caspian Sea summer holidays, we always stopped at historic city of Ghazvin. .which has been around only a few thousands of years.. no big deal. 8-)

Big Shaloah (Shalom/Aloha) to you, your mother and baba Shafia.
Drop me a line if you visit Hawaii!

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Louisa January 29, 2014 at 07:15

Hey Waikiki Persian, glad to know you’re representing Iran in Hawaii! Happy you saw the Google talk. I hope I can make it over to Ghazvin when I visit Iran, I’d like to see where my dad is from. A very warm Shaloah to you too, thanks for stopping by!

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هادی February 15, 2014 at 11:37

سلام
خانم لوسیا با خواندن مطالب سایتتون حدس می زنم که شما ایرانی باشید بخاطر همین براتون فارسی می نویسم.
ازتون ممنون هستم که غذاهای ایرانی رو به همه مردم دنیا معرفی و آموزش میدید و فکر میکنم کتابی هم در مورد غذاهای ایرانی نوشتید.
امیدوارم هرجا که هستید شاد و پیروز باشید.
هادی

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Coco in the Kitchen February 20, 2014 at 16:14

My parents used to take me to Cafe Nadery all the time when I was a kid. They had the best cafe glace’ and concerts out on the back patio. Such sweet memories. I would love to go back now and see it again.

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Shokoofeh March 14, 2014 at 15:51

Dear Louisa,

Getting prepared for Nowruz I found you through another cooking blog. I will definitely try your nan-e-keshmeshi recipe.
I used to go to Cafe Naderi with my mom when I was very young. We did a lot of shopping in the area and almost all our trips ended there to enjoy their magnificent ice cream with a bisquit on the side and the cool glass of water that came with it while we were sitting on old “lahestani” or Polish Style chairs at half brown-half white formica tables. To me the espresso maker never ceased to be a novelty.
About 10 years later when I was pregnant, sadly my mom had lost her mobility, so she asked my brother to take me there for lunch as she knew how much I loved that place. I ordered Chicken Kiev, or Kievsky as they called it, and I have never forgotten the taste and the site of melted butter flowing into my plate from within the rolled chicken breast. I tried to make that dish at home but never succeeded.
I am not sure if the aroma of Turkish coffee from a specialty coffee shop that was always mingling in the street would still welcome the people or the “Pirashki Khosravi” still exists or not but I sure cherish these memories for as long as I live.
Enjoy your trip, can’t wait to read about your trip.

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Louisa March 14, 2014 at 22:04

Shokoofeh,

Thank you for sharing your memories here! You’ve conjured such a vivid image of the café. It’s also fascinating to me that there is so much intermingling of Russian food with Iranian food. It’s surprising but of course it makes total sense. I’ll look out for Pirashki Khosravi, I just did a search and as of 2007 it was still there, sounds fantastic. After reading your comment I’m even more excited to get over to Naderi!

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