In the midst of a light industrial area, the Afghan Cave offers standard deli sandwiches and espresso along with a fairly diverse menu of Afghan dishes. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. With red bukhara rugs on the floors and clothed tables, it has more restaurant airs than the modest exterior would suggest.
I dropped in at 10am as the friendly proprietress was setting up. I asked her if it was possible to have kadoo and mantoo for breakfast. She said, "Are you serious? Okay!" Then she proceeded to tell me that her kadoo (pumpkin) was unique and that everyone loves the way she makes it. She suggested a half order of each.
I took a seat at one of the vinyl booths next to the window. She brought me a basket of Afghan bread with spicy condiments. I appreciated that the bread was warm.
The kadoo was sauteed in olive oil with fresh garlic. Without the addition of sugar to candy the pumpkin, this tasted more like a vegetable for a nice change of pace. Topped with a thick homemade seasoned yogurt and dried mint, the soft and buttery pumpkin melted in the mouth.
The mantoo seemed like they were encased in wonton wrappers folded up and pinched along the edges. With a simple filling of seasoned ground beef and onions, five of these dumplings were topped with a meaty tomato sauce, more of that wonderful yogurt, split yellow peas, and some dried mint. These were obviously made ahead and microwaved, yet at $3.99, I didn't mind.
Even though reheated, there was a homey, honest feel to the food and it was presented with great pride. My "breakfast" was $8 plus tax and some change for the tip jar, and well worth it.
Lunch entrees are mostly $6.99 and at dinner time, $7.99. The proprietress urged me to return to try her version of chapli kabob and I certainly will. This little place has the combination of personality, homestyle fast food, and low prices that make it worth a return visit.
Afghan Cave Deli & Restaurant
44250 Old Warm Springs Blvd.