Chef Reza Setayesh

Our Story

Two Suitcases and Two Grand.

Reza thought they said “Nashville”, he was in L.A., by way of Germany, by way of Iran, parking luxury cars at the established restaurants on Rodeo Drive. He was trying to find himself, scout out the path toward his future, desperately searching for his destiny. A friend asked him the question we should all pose to ourselves when trying to find our career path, “what do you love doing?” After that it was simple, it made sense, Reza started cooking.

Reza Setayesh was born in 1964 in Iran. His father, a successful businessman, traveled regularly and would often bring Reza along. He found comfort in the foods of the region and when he and his father moved to Germany in the early 70’s Reza’s tastes expanded. Traveling throughout Europe offered Reza the opportunity to embrace different cultures, different lives and different foods. From fresh caught calamari by the Mediterranean to goat skewers in Morocco, Reza tried and loved them all. A sort of mid 70’s “No Reservations” but instead of featuring a smoking, graveled voice, curmudgeon this starred a wide-eyed, eager to learn teenager.

By ’79 Reza had found himself in LA, parking those cars and wondering where he would land. After realizing cooking is what he longed to do, he traded the valet uniform for an apron, keys for knives, the wheels of Ferraris for the knobs of a Viking Range. The deli that hired him knew he wouldn’t last. His attention to detail, his work ethic, his knowledge of food meant he’d move on soon. A regular customer of the deli, who just happened to be the general manager of noted Hollywood restaurant Pastelle noticed these facts, and offered Reza a job. But the dinner shift wasn’t enough he needed a lunch gig too, so he found work in a German restaurant nearby. Reza’s days consisted of creating German-California fusion for lunch and French-California fusion for dinner.

A co-worker told Reza of a new “European” style culinary school on the east coast, it was a tech school so the tuition was about 90% less than the CIA or Johnshon and Wales. The school was located in Asheville, NC. Reza had barely heard of NC much less Asheville. He asked around and kept hearing “Nashville’s nice”, no one seemed to know the tiny town in North Carolina was even on the map. It was like packing your bags and jumping into a black hole.

But jump he did and with two suitcases and two thousand dollars Reza Setayesh said goodbye to L.A. and boarded a plane headed for Atlanta to a smaller prop headed for Asheville. That evening, in the late summer of 1985, Reza picked up his 2 suitcases at baggage claim and walked outside into the cool mountain air. He stopped in his tracks, looked left, looked right, looked left again and then slowly turned around, heading back inside. He went to the rental car counter and innocently asked where to find the cab line. When the laughter died he realized he’d landed on another planet and stood still for a long moment, silently contemplating buying a return ticket home.

But Reza stuck it out, stayed in Asheville and flourished in school. He honed his skills and was part of the AB-Tech hot food team that won it’s first regional title. After a summer internship at the Cloister at Sea Island and graduation, Reza accepted a position with the Marriot Corporation in Washington DC. He was the executive chef of two Marriot properties with many restaurants and a never ending slate of weddings and special events. After a little over 6 years in DC Reza was asked to come back to AB-Tech, this time as an instructor. Asheville seemed like a welcome respite from DC and Reza accepted the position.

He had taught for one year when he was approached to be head chef of a new restaurant opening in Waynesville, NC, about half an hour from Asheville. Reza loved teaching but missed being on the line, creating dishes, wowing guests and accepted the job. But the fit wasn’t right and after a year he moved on to open the SourWood Grille at Springdale Country Club with a friend. But Reza’s dream had always been to have his own place, his name, his food, his vision.

In the spring of 2002 that dream became a reality and Rezaz opened for business with a focus on flavorful, well prepared, well sourced experiences. The dream, the vision, the reality were all a triumph. Rezaz hit the ground running and was a success from day one. It looked unstoppable. But then the floods came – literally. In September of 2004 the heavy rains of Hurricanes Ivan and Frances flooded Biltmore Village and much of Western North Carolina. The water level inside Rezaz reached 3 feet, ruining equipment, tables, chairs, floors, electrical wiring, you name it – it was ruined. Only one thing survived, the answering machine.

Reza and his wife Eva were devastated, disheartened and ready to pack it in, as were most of the damaged businesses in the area. The thought of rebuilding, without the help of insurance, was overwhelming, the dream had become a reality, then a nightmare. But Reza did rebuild and the decision and the hard work that followed didn’t come from his passion of food or a revived vision of a restaurant with his name above the door, it came from the answering machine.

The day after the flood, while surveying the damage Reza rescued the machine and listened to the messages, they were all the same, outpourings of love and support from customers and friends. Offers of help and assistance, from cleanup to cash. Messages of encouragement, “Don’t give up”, “Reopen soon” ,“Let us help”. Every day Reza would return, wading through the destroyed restaurant and listen to the new messages, they were his motivation, his drive, the fuel he needed to start from scratch. He had to erase the machine every day for a hundred messages was the maximum it would hold and every day he received a hundred more.

Now in it’s 10th year Rezaz is shining brighter than ever. A constantly evolving restaurant, a dream realized, for the second time. Guests love the variety of at least 13 different entrees all delicately combining the flavors of the Mediterranean and the modern, comfortable atmosphere of the dining room and bar. But the service at Rezaz is its shining star. A knowledgeable, well trained and attentive staff serve guests with professionalism and zeal. In fact, Rezaz was the first restaurant to be awarded “Best Customer Service” by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce.

Reza’s long road to Asheville led him to his vision and now, a little wiser with hair just a tad more pepper than salt, a beautiful wife and three musically gifted kids Reza couldn’t be happier. The dream is staying a reality, as they say in the mountains of Asheville, “come hell or high water.”

Lunch

Appetizers
Reza Mezze - Humus, Muhamara, & Baba Ganouj, Feta, Calamata, Warm Pita 10-
Potato Gnocchi - Peas, Asparagus, Tomato, Balsamic, Parmesan 7/11-
Crisp Shrimp & Calamari - Sweet & Sour Spicy Glaze, Sesame Seed, Scallions 9-
Wood Grilled Caesar Salad - Grilled Garlic Bruschetta & Parmesan 7-
Soup du Jour - Daily Selection Cup 4- Bowl 7-

Entrees
Scallops Crab Cake Salad - Fettoush Salad, Romaine, Crisp Lavash, Remoulade Sauce 12-
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad - Roasted Red Pepper, Red Onion, Parmesan 10-
Chicken Kebob - Basmati Pilaf, Grilled Tomato, Tatziki, Zatar, Pita 10-
*Steak & Frits - Grilled Marinated Bistro Steak, House Fries & Herb Butter 12-
Sicilian Veal Meatballs - Risotto, Greens, Marinara, Pine Nuts, Olives , Currants & Parmesan 12-
Falafel Sandwich - Fresh Pita , Tatziki, Humus, Romaine, tabouleh & Lentil Salad 9-
Shawarma Sandwich - Fresh Pita, Humus, Tahini, Romaine, Pickled Vegetables, tatziki & Frits 9-
*Sirloin Burger - Fresh Ground, Smoked Bacon, Local Cheddar, LTO, Fries, Aioli 10-
Grilled Pizza - Tomato, Spinach, Fontina, Parmesan, Basil, Roasted Garlic 9-

Mediterranean Lunch Box
Includes Basmati Primavera, Green Salad & Condiments
Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Herb Aioli 10-
Curried Grilled Chicken Salad, Currents, Celery & Red Onion 9-
Moroccan Chicken Tagine, Cashews & Coriander 9-
Braised Local Lamb Stew, Feta & Mint 9-
Moroccan Vegetable Tagine, Chickpeas & Greens 9-
Seafood Catalonian, Chorizo, Tomato, White Wine 9-

For The Table
House Fries with Tomato Jam 4-
Sweet Potato Fries with Harissa 4-
Sautéed Greens with Golden Raisins, Garlic & Lemon 4-

We proudly source our ingredients from local farms in surrounding states.
*Consuming undercooked meats, seafood & poultry may cause risk of food borne illness.
Please no substitutions

Dinner / Dessert

Snacks
Manchego - batter dipped, fried, rosemary honey 6-
Falafel - chickpea, fava, lemon tahini, pickles 5-
Persian Wings - saffron, lime butter, red onion & parsley, pomegranate 6-
Jewish Fried Bread - whipped feta, fenugreek 5-
Olives - castelvetrano, nicoise, oil cured, calamata, orange zatar 6-
Turkish Simit - fonduta dip, white truffle oil, sesame 6-
Fatayer Pies - trio: cheese, lamb & spinach, tatziki sauce 9-

Mezzes
Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque - harissa marshmallow, apple concasse 7-
Octopus - tender, apple fennel remoulade, paprika, aged sherry vinaigrette 11-
*Tenderloin Tartar - hand cut, capers, shallots, aioli, toast, pickle, harissa 12-
Grilled Caesar - parmesan, boquerones, crisp onion, bruschetta 8-
Green Fettoush - cucumber, grilled onion, apple, mint, parsley, kale, crisps, garbanzo, feta 8-
Smoked Salmon - grapefruit, avocado, jicama, radish, lime lebneh, parsley salad, chips 11-
Reza Mezze - humus, muhamara, babaganouj, feta, calamata, warm pita 12-
Shrimp & Calamari - sweet sour spicy glaze, scallions, sesame seed 10-
Moorish Ribs - spiced tender pork ribs, spiced mission figs, tabouleh, zatar 10-
Lamb - traditional kibbeh, lamb spanikopita, tatziki, Arabic pickled vegetable 10-
Roasted Beet Salad - red beets &shaved Chioggia, gorgonzola, walnuts, cumin vinaigrette 9-

Entrees
Butternut Squash Ravioli - sage cream sauce, roasted grapes, crushed hazelnut, seed oil 16/22-
Seared Mahi - andalusian romesco, sweet potato tahini, roasted cauliflower, pomegranate 20-
Roasted NC Trout - dill saffron basmati, pistachio, smoked salmon avegolemono, brussels 20-
Paella Madrilena - scallops, shrimp, mussels, fresh chorizo, peas, pepper sofrito, lemon 15/20-
*Adana Kebob - beef tenderloin, saffron basmati, grilled tomato, scallions, tatziki 22-
Braised Duck Confit - potato latke, apple pear butter, spinach, cranberry gastrique 18-
Chicken Vadouvan - kebob, Moroccan filo pie, vegetable curry, apricot, black sesame 18-
*Grilled Flat Iron Steak - bubbles & squeak, creamy horseradish, demi glace, fried onion 22-
Braised Lamb Shank - white bean stew, kale, parmesan, mint pesto, aged balsamic 24-
Seared Sea Scallops - butternut squash puree, crisp sopressata, roasted radish, brussels 18/26-

For the Table
Sautéed Greens, preserved lemon & raisin 5-
Roasted Beets, feta & toasted caraway 5-
Roasted cauliflower, currents & olive pesto 5-
Brussel sprouts, ginger maple syrup 5-
Hand Cut Fries 4-
Warm Garlic Herb Pita 4-


We proudly source our ingredients from local farms in surrounding states. *Consuming undercooked meats, seafood & poultry may cause risk of food borne illness Please no substitutions! Split Entrée plate charge $6 *

Dessert
PLATES
Persian Baklava - Toasted nuts and cardamom, cinnamon sorbet 7-
Strawberry & Bing Cherry Strudel - Strawberry lebnah, red wine reduction 7-
Peach & Cream & Cake - Grilled lemon tea cake, roasted peach, lemon molasses 7-
Chocolate Ganache Torte - Flourless chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, orange granita, feuillentine flakes, port drizzle 7-
Goat Cheesecake - Walnut crust, honeyed walnuts, fresh berries 7-
Chocolate Cherry Dacquise - Cherry mousse, amarena cherries, balsamico 7-

Please ask your server for today’s selection of gelato and sorbet.

CHOCOLATES AND COOKIES
Truffles 2.25
Sugar Cookie 1.25
Raspberry Rugula Cookie 1.75
Date Maamoul Cookie 1.50
Chocolate Drop Cookie 1.50

LOOKING THROUGH THE GLASS
Seasonal Fruit Tart 5.50
Old Fashion Tiramisu Bowl 6.50
Reese’z Bombe 4.95
Lemon Lavender Crème Brulee 5.50
Belgium Pot de Crème 5.50
Traditional Sicilian Cannoli 3.75

Bar

Small Plates
Chicken Tawook Kebob Moraccan Flavors, summer ratatouille, pomegranate 9-
Charcuterie Board Local and European cured meats, cheeses & condiments 11-/18-
Pomme Frits House Cut, Truffle Oil, Sea Salt, Tomato Jam 5-
Grilled Romaine Caesar Dressing, Parmesan, Bruschetta 7-
Arugula Fettoush tomato, onion, cucumber, mint, feta, garbanzo 8-
Fried Shrimp &Calamari Napa Cabbage, Sweet & Spicy Glaze, Sesame, Scallion 10-
Falafel chickpea, fava, pickled vegetable, lemon tahini sauce 6-
Lahmacun Turkish Lamb Pizza, Pine Nuts, Sesame, Pomegranate Syrup 6-
Santorini Octopus salad bruschetta, Fresh Oysters, Tatziki, Chorizo Mineonette 12-
Sambusak Empanada Style, Curried Potato, Peas, Fontina, Spicy Glaze 6-
Seared Salmon Sautéed Spinach, raisin & lemon, lentil Salad 12-
Rezaz Mezze Assorted Mediterranean dips, olives, feta & pita 10-
Olives castelvetrano, nicoise, oil cured, calamata, orange Zatar 6-

Desserts
Persian Baklava Toasted nuts and cardamom, cinnamon gelato 7-
Strawberry Bing Cherry Strudel Strawberry lebnah, red wine reduction 7-
Dacquoise Fresh cherry mousse, chocolate almond cake, amarena cherries 7-
Chocolate Ganache Torte Flourless, chocolate mousse Orange granita, port drizzle 7-
Goat Cheesecake Walnut crust, honeyed walnuts, fresh berries 7-
Peach & Cream & Cake Grilled lemon tea cake, roasted peach, lemon molasses 7-

Chef's Table

Working long hours and wanting to see their friends and families, chefs would often feed them in the kitchen as they prepared meals for the guests of the restaurant. The chef’s table at Rezaz is your opportunity to be part of the family.

Enjoy a 5 course tasting menu personally created for you as you dine beside the “line” and under the “Pandelier”, a magnificent metal sculpture created from the original sauté pans used during the restaurant's first decade.

The chef’s table at Rezaz is available for up to 12 guests nightly and menus can be coordinated to your personal tastes. Please call or email to reserve your place in the kitchen.

Deli & Bakery

Traditional Sandwiches

Hot Pastrami
swiss cheese, grilled onion, mustard on Jewish rye bread $9

Reuben Swiss
cheese, Amish sauerkraut, Russian dressing, Jewish rye bread $9

Thin Sliced Prime Rib
Muenster cheese, arugula, horseradish sauce, sourdough bread $9

Club
roasted turkey, smoked bacon, cheddar, LTO, aioli, wheat bread $9

Turkish Kibbeh Pitta
lamb & bulgur patties, tatziki, pickled vegetable, LTO, tahini sauce $8


New World Sandwiches Sandwiches

Egg Salad Bahn Mi
carrot salad, cilantro, jalapeno, siriachi, grilled bun $8

The Cubano
pulled local pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard $8

Rotisserie Roasted NC Curried Chicken Salad
grainy mustard, walnuts, LTO, wheat bread $8

Humus Wrap
feta, lettuce, pickled vegetable, olives, tomato $8

Med Pimento Cheese BLT
house made blend, toasted sourdough $8

*All Sandwiches are served with one side


Salads

Herb Roasted Chicken Caesar
romaine lettuce, house dressing, parmesan, crouton $9

Greek Village Salad
pulled chicken, cucumber, olives, tomato, red onion, house oregano vinaigrette $9

Chopped Salad
poached salmon, chickpeas, hard egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, olives, onion, lemon dressing $10

Caprese Salad
fresh mozzarella, ripe tomato, basil, marinated olives, romaine, balsamic, evoo $9


Daily Soups

Three Onion Bisque
$4/$7

Spring Minestrone Soup
$4/$7


Daily Sandwich Special

No Meat Monday - Falafel pita wrap
humus, baba, lettuce, pickled vegetable $7

Tuesday - Beirut Chicken Shawarma
humus, lettuce, tomato, onion, parsley, pita bread $7

Wednesday - Hot Italian Sub
imported meats, tomato, provolone, lettuce, Oregano, sweet pepper, red onion $8

Thursday - Spanish Tuna Salad Melt
muenster cheese, capers, arugula, tomato, rye bread $8

Friday - Crab & Scallops Po-Boy
lettuce, tomato, red onion, remoulade $9

Saturday - Ropa de Vieja
shredded marinated flank steak, lettuce, tomato, cheddar, Cuban bread $8


Grab & Go

Khobz
lamb, onion, cilantro $5

Samboussak
curried potato, peas, cheese $6

Focaccia
goat cheese, roasted pepper, olives, rosemary $5

Lahmacun
Turkish pizza, lamb, pomegranate, feta, pinenut, sesame $6

Grilled flat bread
assorted daily toppings $6

Essentials

Hours

Lunch
Monday - Saturday 11:30 - 2:00

Dinner
Monday - Friday 5:30 - Until
Saturday - Sunday 5:00 - Until

Bar
Monday - Saturday 5:00 - Until

Deli & Bakery
Monday - Saturday 10:00 - 5:00

Social

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Reza's Journal

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Reservations

Reservations may be made by calling:

828.277.1510

Or online through Open Table

28 Hendersonville Rd.
Asheville, NC 28803

info@rezaz.com

Events

The Benedetto Room is a private sanctuary in the back of the restaurant, perfect for groups of up to 24.

Rezaz is also available for larger functions and catering. Please call or email for more information.