Looking for a place to escape the Super Bowl game on Sunday, I joined two like-minded people for dinner at this new restaurant. It's on the service road parallel to Leesburg Pike, just East of Bailey's Crossroads, in the building formerly occupied (at least 5 years ago) by a Lone Star steak house.
It's been fully redecorated, no more peanuts or servers dancing Cotton Eyed Joe at the top of the hour. There are a few booths along one side of the room, the rest of the seating is at tables. I asked the host if there was any connection with the Bamiyan (now closed) in Alexandria and he said there wasn't. He didn't mention the chef who used to work there as someone reported in another thread on this restaurant, so maybe it's not true, or no big deal. In any case, the hosts were friendly and efficient, as was the service, but then it wasn't very crowded.
The menu is pretty typical of restaurants service food from that corner of the world - mostly kabobs, a few stews, and sauces. Where appropriate, entrees and kabobs are served with a seasoned rice (I asked since rice was also on the menu as a side dish) a small vegetable garnish, and a basket of flat bread. The bread looked and tasted like it was made with whole wheat flour rather than the more typical white flour. It had a good taste and remained soft and breadlike through the entire meal rather than turning to crackers as it often does.
We started with an order of aushak and sambosay goshti. The aushak was formed into pyramids a bit like shu mai, rather than the flat triangular noodles that I've usually had. Pretty, and they tasted good. The sambosay was tasty but kind of ordinary - fried pastry triangles stuffed with ground beef, crushed chickpeas, and spices.
I had qaubili palau which consisted of a plate full of rice with sweetened carrot shavings and raisins, with a few chunks of lamb in the pile, and a bowl on the side with more lamb chunks in a meat sauce to be poured on top. This was braised or stewed meat rather than broiled, but was juicy and had a good lamb taste.
Our fire eater had the chaplee kabob. This wasn't in the usual kabob form factor, but consisted of three patties each about the size of a quarter-pounder, with ground lamb, chopped onions, green pepper, hot pepper, and other seasonings. These weren't skewered (they're not the right shape) but were probably broiled flat on a grill. They were grease-free and tasty, and quite spicy.
The resident cluckster had kabob murgh, marinated chunks of chicken breast skewered and broiled. To the credit of the chef, the chicken wasn't dry as it often is in other kabob shops. It wasn't too spicy, which suited her just fine.
Two skewers of broiled vegetables could be had for an extra $3.50. I had suggested that we get a set for the table, but the other two aren't big vegetable eaters so we passed. They have beer and wine, but we drank tea, a nicely flavored black cardomom blend, refilled when needed (as were water glasses).
We were too full for dessert, but baqlawa, firnee (a pudding) and the more Indian jelabi and goshe (elephant ear) are available.
Price with a 20% tip was about $22 each. Definitely worth a return visit for dinner. I mentioned to the host that I had balked at having lunch there because it was a bit pricey and was probably too much food. He said that they weren't very busy at lunch time yet and would see how it goes.
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