Greenville is no longer a destination solely for Southern food. Yes, many come hungry for biscuits, fried chicken and collard greens, but the variety of cuisines offered is expanding. Pomegranate on Main is just one of those, but what sets it apart from the rest is that the dishes and flavors you’ll taste are identical to what you’d eat in Iran.
Owner, Ali Saifi, was born and raised in South Iran until immigrating to the United States and finally settling in Greenville. He grew up eating the exact dishes and flavors you’ll find on Pomegranate’s menu and in an effort to give back to the Greenville community, he opened Pomegranate on Main to share his culture and heritage through food.
Open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday, Pomegranate’s menu focuses on traditional Persian dishes made with fresh ingredients. You shouldn’t dine at Pomegranate without ordering some of their vegetarian dips. Ask your server for the trio to try the Mast Khiyar (mixture of cucumbers, yogurt, raisins, and walnuts), Mirza Ghasemi (roasted eggplant, tomato, and garlic), and my personal favorite: Kashk Bademjan (sautéed eggplant and onion topped with Persian cream of whey, crispy fried onion, fresh herbs, and mint). Along with your trio of dips you’ll receive a complimentary bread basket, but this isn’t your standard bread roll and butter situation. Instead, think flatbread with fresh mint, radish, unsalted butter, and feta cheese. While I’d never considered these components to complement one another, they do so perfectly in this scenario.
Persian cuisine boasts pairing contrasting flavors such as sweet and sour pomegranate with earthy walnut to create an irresistible dish that is not only delicious, but also healthy. All entrees at Pomegranate are gluten-free, and while they come with a generous serving of basmati rice, the rice is intentionally prepared to be light and delicate, instead of your usual sticky rice that just makes you want to take a nap after eating it. Their entrees consist of beef, chicken, and vegetarian kabobs, roasted salmon, rich stews, and other vegetarian options.
The Torsh Kabobs are a favorite at Pomegranate due to the mouth-watering marinade of sweet and sour pomegranate sauce mixed with walnuts. Traditionally, cuts of tenderloin are charbroiled to perfection to create this delectable dish, but you can also order it with chicken. The basmati cranberry rice served alongside is a delicate balance to this flavor packed dish.
I’ve heard all the buzz about the Roasted Salmon from Pomegranate and, I must say, it lived up to the hype. Marinated in a traditional Persian mixture of onion and saffron, this salmon dish is for sure one of the best I’ve had in Greenville. It’s rare to find salmon cooked to this level of flawlessness, but Pomegranate must have the magic touch. Instead of the sweeter variation of rice served with the kabob, this rice is mixed with dill and lima beans.
On a chilly winter day, I can’t think of anything that would be more comforting than one of Pomegranate’s stews. The Fresenjan comes with your choice of chicken or beef in a savory stew of ground walnuts and pomegranate, served with basmati rice. The beef in this stew is fork tender and feels like a warm blanket when you take a bite. The richness of this stew comes solely from the walnuts, but you’d think a great deal of butter or oil would need to be added to achieve this level of texture and flavor.
Hospitality speaks for itself at Pomegranate on Main, and this is no different when it comes to the homemade desserts by Ali’s wife, Nancy. Save room for a piece of moist chocolate cake or coconut custard pie, or try something a little different like pistachio ice cream with saffron rosewater. Eating is meant to be a shared experience, so order one of each for a taste of something new and unexpected.
Having lunch with Ali and two of his associates was one of my most cherished meals. His apparent love for Greenville and gracious attitude was clear throughout our conversation. It’s people like Ali, who combine passion and respect within their restaurants, who make eating out more than just a meal, but an experience. Pomegranate on Main is proud to offer VIP curbside service where you can place an order over the phone and someone will bring your food out to you. They also have live music and half-off bottles of wines every Wednesday evening.