We were in the area tonight and thought we would pop into the Crystal Bistro Afghani restaurant. I could have sworn I first read of it on Chowhound, but a search seems to come up with nothing. It's located in a strip mall on the N. side of Bass Lake Rd between 81 & Broadway (would be right @ Douglas & Bass Lake if Douglas didn't dead end.
When we walked in we were a bit surprised to find the place dead empty, but the space had a certain homespun warmth to it, and the proprietor ushered us in excitedly. As we sat and waited for our carry out order he assured us that they are packed on weekends, while bringing us little nibbles of the house bread, sauces (the green spicy sauce was delicous...somewhere between a mint/coriander chutney and a tomatilla salsa), and the house chai, which was fantastic on a cold night.
Our dining companions are devout carnivores, so our carry out order consisted of:
Lentil Soup--absolutely delicious & hearty, 100% vegetarian, enhanced by the green sauce
Spinach Pie--A bit dry
Gyros platter--it is what it is.
Braised lamb shank with brown basmati rice, raisins, almonds--delicously tender
Cabbage Leaf Stuffed with Ground Beef --with a light tomato sauce, perfectly seasoned, slightly smoky, quite nice
Total bill came to just over $40, it was plenty of food for 4 and the service was excellent (bearing in mind that we carried out and were the only ones in the place)
Overall, it's the sort of place that would benefit from a better location where they could pull in some weeknight action from the neighborhood. There seemed to be 4 or 5 delicious looking vegetarian entrees & pastas on the menu...certainly enough to appease your health conscious or vegetarian friends. Just 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, it could be well worth a chowhound trek, especially considering that it's the only Afghani in the TCs other than Khyber Pass.