Dear Mr. Gold:
In Chicago, I was recently introduced to a wonderful Iranian noodle dish called something like ash, which was thick, green and flavored with yogurt. Is there anything like that in Los Angeles?
—Elaine, Sherman Oaks
Asht-e-resht is the prototypical Iranian soup, a vivid green herb soup with beans, noodles, browned onions and a lashing of kasht, which is a kind of tangy semidried yogurt. Almost any Iranian restaurant will have the dish — the version at the sandwich shop Attari on Westwood Boulevard is famously delicious, and I have liked the asht-e-resht at Javan. But the asht at Olive Branch may be the best in town, the onion garnish fried to a delicious, leathery frizzle, the noodles soft and slippery and the beans almost al dente, with the balance between the yogurt’s tartness and the herbs’ pungency vibrating like a plucked string of a harp — it’s like pasta fazool with a graduate education. The many exotic rice polos, the ghormeh sabzi and the ground-beef kebabs called koobideh are especially good at Olive Branch, but it is the asht-e-resht that compels the schlep to La Crescenta. 3658 Foothill Blvd., La Crescenta, (818) 248-9876.