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The Spice of Life

Hemispheres, 45 1/2 Mt. Auburn St. breakfast, lunch and dinner no liquor license

By Nick Lemann

FRED MOJAVR, owner of Hemispheres, quit his job as a Wall Street accountant last year to go into the restaurant business. Since then, he's specialized in Middle Eastern food, first with a Cambridge sandwich shop called the Hungry Persian, and since December, with the larger Hemispheres.

Currently, Hemispheres is the only Persian restaurant in Cambridge. Its menu is composed of a variety of mysterious sounding dishes mostly concocted of lamb, rice, syrian bread, eggplant and a wide variety of Middle Eastern spices--though the food isn't so spicy that it cannot be handled by the average Cambridge palette. A few Cambridge staples such as roast beef sandwiches are also on the menu, but the most popular dish and the house specialty is its lamb shishkebob.

Hemispheres offers a number of appetizers that make a good first course while waiting for the shishkebob. Falafel is made of light bland balls of fava beans and chick peas in a spiced, mayonnaisebased sauce, and Baba Ganoosh is a syrian bread with a heavy and, again, bland eggplant sauce.

The shishkebob itself benefits from fresh lamp and careful preparation. The portions could have been bigger, but the dish was well spiced with green peppers, tomatoes and onions. It is usually served with rice-pilaf. Baklava, a Greek-Turkish pastry filled with walnuts, is lighter and less syrupy at Hemispheres than at most places, and makes a good dessert.

Mojavr flew his mother in from Iran to do the cooking. The exotic ambiance that her food lends to Hemispheres is unfortunately a bit chopped by the Hit Parade music that Mojavr plays. Still, the availability of a good meal for two at under $5 more than compensates for the utilitarian atmosphere and explains why the restaurant is crowded.

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