I had the pleasure of dining at Nayeb’s in Schaumburg this weekend. Ahu and I love having dinner at Reza’s in Chicago but hardly have a chance to go there now that we live in the ‘burbs. Nayeb’s is as close as you get to Reza’s without driving into the city.

I found out about Nayeb’s through Deepak, who highly recommended it for its excellent kabobs. When I go to Reza’s, I always get two skewers of filet mignon steak with a bed of aromatic white rice and charred onions. Meals at Reza’s also come with pita bread and delicious lentil soup. Often my wife an I will split this entree because it is so much food. Other times she will get her own entree and substitute dill rice for the white.

Nayeb’s is very different in some ways from Reza’s. Nayeb’s is relatively small and is located in a strip mall. Reza’s is a very large space in a vintage brick loft building which used to be a brewery. There is a long, carved wood bar and even outdoor seating during the summer months. Nayeb’s closes at 10pm on weekends and Reza’s closes after midnight on all nights, making it an excellent place to go for a late night dinner and drinks. Nayeb’s does not serve alcohol of any sort. I’m not sure if this is because they couldn’t get a liquor license or if they do not serve alcohol because of religious reasons (Nayeb’s is a Persian restaurant, read Iranian, and strict Muslims do not drink alcohol). (UPDATE: It’s a religious thing.)

For all their differences, there is one key similarity - the food. Nayeb’s does have excellent food. I had steak kabobs and Ahu had lamb kabobs. We split up the food so we each had some of both. The lamb was very good - better than the lamb we have had at Reza’s. The steak kabobs were also very good but because Nayeb’s uses ribeye meat instead of the filet mignon meat that Reza’s uses, the meat was not quite as tender. Nayeb’s rice was perfect, moist and slightly flavored - delicious. Charred onions did not automatically come with the entree but when I asked for some, they were brought out and perfectly done.

Pricing for dinner at Nayeb’s is essentially the same as for dinner at Reza’s - around $11 - $15 per entree. No lentil soup at Nayeb’s but the pita bread was outstanding. We ordered some hummus for the pita and we both felt that Nayeb’s hummus was a little better than Reza’s. Highly recommended.