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

Starters & Salads
Reza Mezze - Humus, Muhamara, & Baba Ganouj, Feta, Calamata, Warm Pita 12-
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-
Turkish Simit Bagel – warm fontina cheese dip, white truffle oil, sesame 6-
Fatayer Pies - a trio: cheese, lamb & spinach, tatziki sauce 9-
Scallops Crab Cake Salad - village Greek salad, feta vinaigrette, crisps, remoulade 12-
Grilled Chicken Caesar – roasted red pepper, red onion, parmesan, crouton 10-

Entrees
Seafood Catalonian – Creamy Risotto, Chorizo, Tomato, white wine, aioli 12-
Moroccan Chicken Tagine – Cashews, Coriander, Basmati Pilaf, Carrots 10-
Roasted Lebanese Kibbeh- Lamb, Bulgur, Carrot Salad, S&S Glaze, Tatziki, pistachio, Basmati Pilaf 12-
Sicilian Veal Meatballs – Risotto, Greens, Marinara, Pine Nuts, Olives , Currants & Parmesan 12-
Falafel Sandwich – Fresh Pita , Tatziki, Humus, Tahini, Romaine, tabouleh & Lentil Salad 9-
Shawarma Sandwich – Fresh Pita, Humus, Tahini, Romain, Pickled Vegetables, tatziki & Frits 9-
Eggplant & Feta Panini - Tomato, Mint, Parmesan, Roasted Garlic, Kale Caesar Salad 9-

Mediterranean Lunch Box
Includes Basmati Primavera, Green Salad & Condiments
Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Herb Aioli 10-
Braised Local Lamb Stew, Feta & Mint 9-
Moorish Curried Chicken Salad with currants & celery 9-

Kebobs
Chicken Kebob- Basmati Pilaf, Grilled Tomato, Tatziki, Zatar, Pita 10-
Grilled Fish Kebob- Sweet Spices, Tabouleh, Grilled Onion, Tatziki, Pickles 11-
Ground Lamb Kebob- Basmati Pilaf, Grilled Tomato, Tatziki, Sumac, Pickles 11-
Shrimp Piri Piri Kebob – Tabouleh Salad, chickpeas, Tomato Jam, Carrot Salad 11-

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 $6 each
Manchego - batter dipped, fried, rosemary honey
Falafel - chickpea, fava, lemon tahini, pickles
Chicken Wings - harissa, butter, red onion & parsley, pomegranate
Iftar Fritters - spinach, dates, caramelized onion, gram flour, tamarind syrup
Mixed Olives - castelvetrano, nicoise, oil cured, calamata, orange zatar
Batata Harra • spicy potato, red pepper, garlic, coriander Dolmades grape leaf, rice, currants, feta, mint, pinenuts & tatziki

Mezzes
Chilled Pea Soup - crispy soft shell crab, lebnah, radish, toasted sunflower seeds 12-
Grilled Caesar Salad - parmesan, boquerones, crisp onion, bruschetta 8-
Fettoush Salad - cucumber, grilled onion, peas, mint, watercress, crisps, garbanzo, feta 8-
Crisp Hen Egg - grilled asparagus, smoked salmon, lemon Spring Salad, yogurt 10-
Humus Shawarma - pinenuts, olive oil, sesame tomato, pickles, pita, harissa 10-
Moorish Ribs - spiced tender pork ribs, Mediterranean BBQ, tabouleh, zatar 10-
Shrimp & Calamari - sweet sour spicy glaze, scallions, sesame seed 10-
Octopus - tender, asparagus fennel remoulade, paprika aged sherry vinaigrette 11-
Reza Mezze - humus, muhamara, babaganouj, feta, calamata, warm pita 12-
Lamb Mezze - kibbeh, lamacun, merguez, tatziki, carrots, pickled vegetable 13-
Grilled Ginger Quail local strawberry, avocado, jicama, radish, white pepper caramel 13-

Entrees
French Gnocchi Primavera - leeks, asparagus, tomato, spinach, radish, peas, goat cheese crema 18-
Seared Atlantic Cod - toasted orzo stirfry, melted leeks, sofrito avoglemono, pepper couli 20-
Roasted NC Trout - potato feta dill cake, lemon watercress, olive pesto, pickled garlic 20-
Seared Sea Scallops - lemon pea risotto, asparagus, tomato “caviar”, basil salsa verde 26-
Paella Madrilena - scallops, shrimp, mussels, fresh chorizo, peas, pepper sofrito, lemon 19-
Smoked Duck Breast - confit potato beignet, spinach, strawberry Vincotto, duck crackling 23-
Chicken Tawook - kebob, chicken filo pie, sweet pepper shakshuka, hen egg, spiced almonds 19-
*Delmonico Steak - crisp new potato, red onion crimini asparagus, demi, gorgonzola butter 24-
Braised Lamb Shank • saffron couscous, red bean, spring herb jus, cucumber lebnah 24-

For the Table
Sautéed Greens, preserved lemon & raisin 5-
Lemon Pea Risotto 5-
Asparagus, lemon & salsa verde 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, honey, cinnamon gelato 7-

Lemon Pistachio Cake
Meyer lemon ricotta curd, toasted pistachio, date berry jam 7-

Strawberry Oeufs a la Neige
Strawberry soup, vanilla yogurt, filo tuille, strawberries 7-

Flourless Chocolate Ganache Torte (gf)
chocolate mousse, local strawberry gelato, port drizzle 7-

Goat Cheesecake (gf)
Hazelnut shortbread, nuts, balsamic, berry salad 7-

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

CHOCOLATES AND COOKIES
Truffles 2.25
Sugar Cookie (2) 1.95
Chocolate Raspberry Rugula Cookie 1.75
Date Maamoul Cookie 1.50
Keshmesh Cookie 1.50

LOOKING THROUGH THE GLASS
Seasonal Fruit Tart 5.50
Old Fashion Tiramisu Bowl 6.00
Reese’z Bombe 5.75
Belgium Pot de Crème 5.50
Traditional Sicilian Cannoli 3.75

Bar

Small Plates
Olives castelvetrano, nicoise, oil cured, calamata, orange Zatar $6
Charcuterie Board Local and European cured meats, cheeses & condiments $11/$18
Pomes Frits House Cut, Truffle Oil, Sea Salt, Tomato Jam $5
Grilled Caesar Salad Caesar Dressing, Parmesan, Bruschetta $7
Green Fettoush Watercress, tomato, onion, cucumber, mint, apple, feta, garbanzo $8
Dolmades rice, pinenuts, caramelized onion, mint, feta cheese, tatziki $6
Fried Shrimp &C alamari Napa cabbage, sweet & spicy glaze, sesame, scallion $10
Moorish Ribs Spiced tender pork ribs, Mediterranean BBQ, tabouleh, zatar $10
Rezaz Mezze Assorted Mediterranean dips, olives, feta & pita $12
Chicken Tawook Kebob Sweet pepper shakshuka, hen egg, spice almonds $12
French Gnocchi Primavera Spring vegetables, goat cheese crema $12
Seared Salmon Sautéed Spinach, raisin & lemon, lentil Salad $12
Petite Paella scallops, shrimp, mussels, chorizo, rice, sofrito, lemon $15

Desserts
Persian Baklava Toasted nuts and cardamom, cinnamon gelato $7
Lemon Pistachio Cake Meyer lemon curd, toasted pistachio, date berry jam $7
Strawberry Oeufs a la Neige Strawberry soup, vanilla yogurt, filo tuille, strawberries $7
Chocolate Ganache Torte Chocolate mousse, strawberry gelato, port drizzle $7
Goat Cheesecake hazelnut shortbread crust, nuts, balsamic, berry salad $7
Old Fashion Tiramisu Bowl Mascarpone mousse, lady fingers, espresso, cocoa $6

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

Starters & Salads

Soup of the Day $4/$7
Grilled Eggplant - Tomato, olives, balsamic $6
Rezaz Mezze - humus, baba Ganouj, muhamara & warm pita $12
Pomme Frits - hand cut, sea salt, tomato jam $4
Lahmacun - Turkish pizza, lamb, pomegranate, feta, pinenut, sesame $6
Simit - Turkish bagel with feta spread $4
Chopped Salad - poached salmon, chickpeas, hard egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, olives, onion, lemon dressing $10
Greek Village Salad - pulled chicken, cucumber, olives, tomato, red onion, house oregano vinaigrette $9
Moorish Chicken Salad - tender Chicken Breast, currants, aioli over chopped kale, lemon dressing $10


Panini

Eggplant & Feta Panini - tomato, spinach, mint, feta & parmesan $9
Turkey Club Panini - roasted turkey, smoked bacon, cheddar, LTO, aioli $9


Mediterranean Sandwiches & Wraps

Falafel Wrap - LTO, humus, baba, lettuce, pickled vegetable $8
Beirut Chicken Wrap - Humus, lettuce, tomato, onion, parsley $9
Turkish Kibbeh Wrap - lamb & bulgur patties, tatziki, pickled vegetable, LTO, humus $9
Humus & Feta Wrap - lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickled vegetable $8
Ropa Vieja - shredded marinated beef, lettuce, tomato, cheddar, Cuban Bread $9
Kobe Beef Hot Dog - mustard aioli, tomato, Arabic pickle, marinated red onion, parsley, baguette $8
Rueben - swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, Jewish rye bread $9

*All Sandwiches are served with one side

Desserts

Persian Baklava - Toasted nuts and cardamom, fig gelato $7
Warm Pear & Spice Cake - Cinnamon gelato, poached pear, streusel dukkah $7
Local Apple Almond Tart - Apple thyme confit, frangipane, buttermilk sorbet $7
Flourless Chocolate Ganache Torte - chocolate mousse, coffee gelato, port drizzle $7
Goat Cheesecake - Walnut crust, honeyed walnuts, fall fruit compote $7
Parisian Rice Pudding - White chocolate butter, toasted pistachio, dried cranberries $7

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

Chocolate Rugula Cookie $1.75
Date Maamoul Cookie $1.50
Keshmesh Cookie $1.50

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

Connect

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28 Hendersonville Rd.
Asheville, NC 28803

828.277.1510
info@rezaz.com

Reservations

828.277.1510 Or click below to book online.
Book now

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.