We were on our way to JoJo tonight and happened to notice that Ariana (the new Afghani place on Brighton) had opened, so made a quick chance of plans to check it out! The space is nice- maybe a bit stiff/formal, but clearly it's aiming to be the have a glass of wine, intimate diner/date kind of place. In fact, the drink options were mainly centered around wine and beer, I was more in the mood for dogh, but they didn't have any.
We weren't hungry enough (or equipped with extra eaters) to try a wide variety of things, but what we got was very promising!
- The bread that came while we were waiting was nice and fresh- also, at about the same time, a selection of three sauces arrived (red pepper, jalapeno/cilantro, and a raita-style yogurt sauce) We couldn't wait to try out the sauces, so we put some on our bread, which was quite tasty :)
- Bowlawni - fried "pockets", fairly plain, but pleasant
- They were offering a special of kaddo (pumpkin) and banjan (eggplant). I'm a sucker for kaddo (even if I'm not usually a big fan of sweet things). It was quite artistic, since it came as a single "disc"/round of pumpkin with the sauce neatly contained on top. It was the style where the pumpkin is sweetened rather than the sauce, which I think makes the net effect seem sweeter than if it's the sauce that's sweetened. Due to the sweetness, I think this little round was about all I could have taken of it, but it was definitely the stand-out dish of what we got. The eggplant was also good, but was really second fiddle to the kaddo.
- Kofta (aka Afghani meatballs & rice :) ) Fairly "standard" rendition, the sauce was also sweetened.
The portions were generous, but we managed to make the effort to try their homemade ice cream. I'm not a big fan of rose water, so I tend to be kind of wary of Persian and Afghani ice cream- and indeed, there seemed to be a hint of it, but it was in the syrup on top of the ice cream, not in the ice cream itself. (Quite manageable) The ice cream was good- sweet and dense- though we could definitely have gone for more pistachio in/on it.
Overall, it seems like a good addition to the neighborhood. They were quite empty, but maybe it's due to being new, and on a dreary Sunday evening... We'll definitely be back to try out the aushak and mantu (and maybe get some more of that kaddo! :) )