People looking for a taste of the Mediterranean and Persia can turn their attention to a place tucked away in Tumon. The Caspian Grill is located at the back of the Blue Lagoon Plaza with other restaurants within the complex.

The Caspian Grill is set to open up on April 1 and Ronald Q. Rivo general manager of the Caspian Grill said the restaurant will provide service and flavor people will enjoy. "Most people think of curry when they think about Mediterranean or Persian food but really it [the restaurant] has nothing to do with curry. The flavor is spicy but not too spicy. We use saffron as our main ingredient in our marinated mixture and it is a mild spice. "All of our spices are not bought on island. We have to purchase our spices from off-island from a vendor I cannot disclose."

According to Rivo the environment will allow people to experience good service. "I want to make sure that each guest is well cared for and treated as a VIP from the moment they step through our door to the moment they leave. It is my goal to maintain our friendly responsive and accurate service at all times with the fresh and quality foods we will serve every day."

The Caspian Grill boasts a total 2 036.75 square feet of space and can accommodate about 125 people. Rivo said the restaurant does have a section cordoned off for private meetings or couples wanting a little bit more privacy. "It is by reservation only."

On the menu under appetizers you can order humus stuffed grape leaves and Torshi "" pickled vegetables.

The main menu features beef kabobs chicken kabobs and sword fish kabobs. These aren’t kabobs that are typically found at fiestas with meat skewered on a wooden stick. In fact the meat will not be served on skewers. Rivo said serving them on the specially purchased metal skewers would be a liability. "The meat is cooked on stainless steel skewers which are 16 inches long and the meat is 12 inches in length with two to three inches in thickness. We will serve two per order."

He said people will feel like they are not on Guam when entering the restaurant. "This restaurant will bring you from this island to the Mediterranean and Persia which will make the customer feel like they just visited there."

Owners Farbod Ouhadi and Faraz Ouhadi purchased a handmade $3 000 Persian rug that they plan to put on the floor. Rivo told the Journal that there will be several Middle Eastern style fountains in front of the windows "and we will also have paintings." Rivo added "We’re also looking at hiring belly dancers."

Customers can also order lamb or a 16-ounce New York steak. Food choices can be purchased through three different large combination platters. Saffron and Basmati rice are also part of the menu.

Salads and bread will be served with all meals. Salads include garden mixed Greek and Caspian house specialty salad. Rivo said "You can also try our Turkish Lavash and pita breads."

The menu also includes five salad platters six sandwiches and gyros. He said the dessert menu is still being perfected. "We are going to be baking our own breads and make our own desserts here in the restaurant. We are able to do that."

Rivo said drinks are refillable for thirsty customers while beer wines and spirits will be also available for patrons during meals or at the bar.

The Caspian Grill will employ 24 employee. "We’re looking at 12 full-time employees and 12 on-call employees for the meantime. We will have one executive chef one executive sous chef six cook helpers and four wait staff."

"From the feedback that I’ve been getting people are looking for a new place to eat and potential customers have stopped by to ask when we are opening. They are all excited about what’s going to be on the menu and when we say it’s going to be Mediterranean or Persian food they say "˜Wow I’ve never tried that before ‘ and they are willing to try something new " Rivo said. "Those who have tried Persian and Mediterranean food are up on their toes wanting to come in and try what we have."

Rivo said the Caspian Grill does not have a target market "We want everyone to come in and try our food. To focus on one target market wouldn’t be good for the restaurant at all. I’ve experienced that before and it has failed numerous times." He said because of the service and quality food he believes the Caspian Grill is an upscale restaurant with fair and affordable prices.

The restaurant will be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. "We will not have a break unlike some restaurants which close at 2 o’clock [in the afternoon]."

Faraz Ouhade a specialist in internnal medicine and genatrics is a physician with Pacific Medical Group in Tamuning. MBJ