Menu is identical to the Helmand in SF. The quality is high and the pricing is very reasonable -- in those respects it's virtually identical to the SF branch. This Helmand has less of the austere elegance of the SF branch; the eye runs over textures that are softer and the dining room radiates more casual comforts. BTW, there's a smaller dining room at the back that is cozier and less chatty if that's important.
Kaddo is still a total favourite -- baby pumpkin so soft it melts at a touch. The flavor combination is outstanding; the pumpkin saturated with a rich but not excessive sweetness that mingles brilliantly with the tangy garlicky yogurt and salty minced beef. Great to feel pumpkin dissolve just as the bits of beef are releasing their juices as one chews down, a lovely tactile sensation with many degrees of tenderness.
Banjan, firm pan fried eggplant does well too, but I'm still a kaddo devotee.
The grilled rack of lamb in the chowpan has exceedingly high production values -- juicy, smoky, with all the tenderness and flavour of the meat. The side of eggplant is fine but undistinguished, the pallow rice cooked in spices made a satisfying accompaniment.
The triangular shape of Aushak, or Afghan dumplings, is used to is full aesthetic advantage, each triangle pointed outwards to form a star on the plate. Very tasty leek and scallion filling, pleasant minty yogurt sauce.
Just one dessert of the house cake -- a very simple but tender cake drizzled with a fig sauce (I think) eaten with a mildly salty kulfi-like accompaniment for a great salt-sweet interaction under the blessings of pistacchios, sweet cardamom, figs and dates.
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