after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Kabul: An Afghan Gem in Old City

with 2 comments

v says: Kabul, the first Afghani restaurant in Philadelphia, is not your run-of-the-mill Old City byob. Its seasoned menu brings you options that have endured 20 years of the Inquirer critiques and Zagat ratings. Our visit this summer was equally as good, if not better, than our first visit. The server (read: owner) and host (read: owner’s daughter/family-friend) make you feel at home from the moment you walk in. There is an attention to detail evident in the service, as they meet your every need from start to finish. As someone who enjoys cooking with new ingredients, tasting each course presented me with a new challenge – to guess the dominant spice in each dish. The Kabul Combination allows you to sample any three appetizers on their menu which consist of Sambosas (fried pastries), Aushaks (steamed dumplings), and Bulanees (stuffed turnovers), each filled with everything from chick peas to ground beef. We partook in something from each category and found everything quite good but not amazing. For the second course, the Aush, a noodle and vegetable soup, and Shorba-E-Dal, lentil and onion soup, had extraordinary taste and are highly recommended.

For the main course, I worked my way around the table, and found all the dishes flavorful. The saffron rice, an option for many of the dishes, was my least favorite. Of course this is no surprise since it is intended to be sweet, and I just don’t do sweet. The Kabab-e-Mauhi (Salmon Kebab), accompanied by the brown rice, was the best dish of the night. The fish was well-prepared and the rice… wow! As soon as I tried it, I burst with delight and made sure everyone got a taste. My first words after trying it were, “You may think I am crazy, but this tastes like Christmas.” We each attempted to guess the secret ingredient. Nutmeg? No. Cinnamon? No. Cloves? Yes. It may sound odd, but it was a great combination. Instead of ordering directly from the menu,I asked the owner to recommend a vegetarian dish. The Dal he served me was light, yet filling. Even without meat, I found this entree quite satisfying. a, as usual, had a lamb dish which was excellent though not as memorable as the Salmon. The lamb was well seasoned, but could have been of higher quality. We ended our meal with the Baklava, split four ways. Who can resist phyllo dough and pistachios with rose water sugar syrup? It too, was good, though not as good as Zahav’s or Kanella’s.

Don’t forget to print the online coupon or visit before dining here!

t says: g and I went to Kabul a long, long time ago. It was one of the first restaurants we visited when I moved to the area in 2005. It was quite tasty, but I remember no specifics. We’ve been too lazy to go back. I’m glad you seemed to also have a positive experience. I wish places like this got more respect in the “popular Philly dining scene”, as I’d go here over a shnazzier place like Continental any day. I do want to say, however, that we have had better Afghan food elsewhere. But not in Philly. In Baltimore. The Helmand. It’s really good. If we had to choose only one Baltimore restaurant to eat at for the rest of our life, that would be it, hands down.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

2 September 2010 at 2:28am

Posted in Happenings

2 Responses

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  1. Thumbs down! You can’t dis the saffron rice! It’s totally my favorite.


    2 September 2010 at 7:42pm

    • t says: I can’t remember if we had saffron rice or not. I do remember that whatever rice it was that we did get, I thought it was … “ok” … but that’s really not fair to them, because I like my rice white, short-grained, and unadulterated (unless we’re talking about sushi, in which rice vinegar, sugar, etc are permissible).

      On the other hand, our hair stylist extraordinairre loved the lamb chops and saffron rice …


      3 September 2010 at 12:27pm

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