Persian Baklava at the Caspian Bistro

James Norton / Heavy Table

Bad baklava is little more than a pancake of phyllo dough and an oozing pool of low-grade honey. But good baklava — as we’ve discovered at places like Gyropolis and Filfillah — strikes a balance between nuts, spice, honey, and pastry, and it holds its place among the world’s great desserts.

The Persian Baklava at Caspian Bistro (one of the many highlights of our Green Line Checklist tour down University Avenue) is good baklava. It’s got that perfect crisp-vs.-gooey contrast, a real presence of pistachio flavor and texture, and a cinnamon-kissed, spiced warmth. It also has enough honey to hold it together and to please the diner as a dessert without going overboard into syrupy, sugar-coma territory. It’s the perfect way to wrap up a simple, summery meal of rice and kebabs.

Caspian Bistro’s small but well-curated Turkish/Persian/Armenian marketplace is stocked with at least a half dozen baklava and baklava-esque desserts, too, so if this is sort of thing you like to finish a meal with, there’s no reason not to stock up (and maybe branch out a bit while you’re at it).

Caspian Bistro, 2418 University Ave SE, Minneapolis; 612.623.1113

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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