I had a knockout dinner this past weekend at M. Shahrzad Fine Persian Cuisine in Rancho Cordova. The restaurant was packed with families and large groups when we arrived, tucking happily into the restaurant’s toothsome skewered meats, robust Persian stews and colorful appetizers. The evening started with a plateful of fresh herbs, a chunk of feta cheese and a pile of fresh pita triangles, which are meant to be eaten together as a wonderful and refreshing pre-meal treat. We savored the kitchen’s tender dolmeh (cooked grape leaves filled with ground beef, rice, tarragon, split peas and fresh herbs) and the fabulous, creamy kashkeh bodemjan (a fried eggplant appetizer with garlic and mint) before relishing into our lamb and ground beef kebobs. The meaty star of the evening, however, was M. Shahrzad’s melt-in-your-mouth-tender braised lamb shank, which had been “slow-cooked” in a luscious garlic-saffron tomato sauce. If you’re hankering for Persian cuisine, don’t miss this friendly, bustling spot located off Sunrise Boulevard.